MAGNIFICENT MILE — Protesters outraged over Chicago Police shootings plan to shut down the city's most popular shopping strip on Black Friday for the second straight year.
A coalition of "religious, youth, activist, political, and union groups" plan to protest the police shootings of Laquan McDonald and others on North Michigan Avenue about a year after a video showing a police officer shoot McDonald 16 times was released.
"Black Friday's protest will aim to disrupt Chicago's busiest shopping day and draw attention to the problem of gun-violence, segregation, racism, and police brutality in Chicago," the coalition said in a statement Monday.
The plans are reminiscent of last year, when Rev. Michael Pfleger urged his parish to shut down the Mag Mile on Black Friday to "make a statement" on unjustified police killings in Chicago. The video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shoot McDonald 16 times was released two days before Thanksgiving.
Hordes of protesters shut down Michigan Avenue that following Friday, forcing many stores to close early on the busiest shopping day of the year. Many of those stores later reported smaller sales because of the protest.
This year's protest is set to start at 10 a.m. Friday at the Old Water Tower before heading south, said D. Lawrence, a protest organizer. The groups plan to block streets and stores.
While City Hall has taken steps to reform the police department, their efforts have still fallen short, Lawrence said. Recent, racially charged flare-ups between Black Lives Matter activists and police supporters in Mount Greenwood following a police shooting haven't helped, either.
"We didn't forget about Laquan McDonald," Lawrence, of Chatham, said. "Even though police have tried to make reforms, it hasn't been enough because citizens have been gunned down by Chicago Police."
Lawrence said the groups are shutting down the Mag Mile again because "you can't have business as usual as blacks are getting killed daily."
"We can't go along with our daily lives," he said. "If you like black peoples' money you should like their lives, too."
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