DOWNTOWN — Protesters outraged over Chicago Police shootings gathered Friday morning in an effort 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" rallied near the Old Water Tower just after 10 a.m. to protest the police shootings of Laquan McDonald and others.
"Our black men are being killed," protester Jamela Carrell said. "This money goes back into the city of Chicago to fund the police. We want to defund the police."
The groups plan to block streets and stores as they march south to the Loop, as they did last year, organizers said. As the march stepped off after about an hour of speeches, the crowed swelled to approximately 250 people.
Leaders of the protest said they would not go into stores or destroy property.
Officers on bikes riding alongside protesters. pic.twitter.com/KWYZOnMNMD— Kelly Bauer (@BauerJournalism) November 25, 2016
A woman, who came from Wisconsin to Michigan Avenue to do holiday shopping, said she shared protestors' feeling that the "system is broken."
"People are fed up," she said. "This is a peaceful way of acting out."
Some protesters encouraged Black Friday shoppers to spend their money at black-owned businesses instead of the ones on the Magnificent Mile.
"You can't boycott all of the stores. We have to take some of that money and invest it in our communities," said Craig Williams, a volunteer with the BRIJ Embassy for Black America, who were passing out copies of the "Neo-Green Book," which lists over 500 black owned businesses in Chicago. "Economic support for our own is a major key," Williams said. "You have to have money to do anything. For what we're protesting for, we could get what we want if we had the money to grease the right hands."
The protest grew heated outside Crate & Barrel, where one man was detained by police, and the Nike store, where shoppers squeezed past demonstrators attempting to block the entrance to the store.
On Nov. 24, 2015 — under a court order — Mayor Rahm Emanuel released the video of Officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, getting out of his police SUV and shooting McDonald. Authorities said he hit McDonald 16 times, emptying his clip into the teen, including many shots while McDonald was on the ground.
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.
Nation of Islam speaker says, "No justice, no profits" at Black Friday protest. pic.twitter.com/nUPMtkGEMt— Kelly Bauer (@BauerJournalism) November 25, 2016
In recent days, the mayor and city officials have touted the progress made in the effort "to address the complex challenges facing the police department and its ongoing partnership with communities to ensure the safety of every person throughout Chicago."
But in the last seven days alone, Chicago Police have shot and killed three men.
Officers killed a man after they saw him fatally shoot someone early Friday in Homan Square, police said.
Officers fatally shot Kajuan Raye, 19, Wednesday night in West Englewood, and 26-year-old Darius Jones was shot and killed by officers Nov. 18 in West Englewood. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Officer ruled Raye's shooting a homicide. They also stated that Raye was shot in the back.
While officers said Raye had a gun, though no weapon was recovered after the shooting, according to police Supt. Eddie Johnson.
There is blood on the mayor's hands, protester says. pic.twitter.com/2bePgE86ss— Kelly Bauer (@BauerJournalism) November 25, 2016
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