Update: NFL ‘Draft Town’ traffic disrupted by protesters

(CHICAGO) Demonstrators wearing chains briefly blocked traffic on Lake Shore Drive on Saturday, using the NFL’s “Draft Town” as a backdrop to draw attention to police brutality and massive budget cuts at Chicago State University, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The protests were organized by the activist groups Black Lives Matter and Assata’s Daughters.

Police said 17 protesters, all women, were arrested. The women wrapped themselves in chains before walking across Lake Shore Drive near Jackson around noon, as the NFL Draft festivities hosted by the city were under way in Grant Park.

All 17 were charged with misdemeanor counts of obstructing traffic and were released on their own recognizance Saturday night, police said.

The groups called on the Chicago Police Department to fire Officer Dante Servin, who fatally shot 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in 2012 but was acquitted of murder charges by a Cook County judge last year. Servin has remained with the department, even as former Supt. Garry McCarthy moved to fire him in December amid a wave of protests that began after the city released video of another officer gunning down 17-year-old Laquan McDonald with a barrage of 16 shots.

On Friday, Chicago State announced more than 300 non-faculty positions were being cut at the largely black South Side school because of funding shortfalls linked to the state’s ongoing budget crisis.

The protesters complained that hosting the Draft Town and other NFL-related activities costs the city millions.

— Chicago Sun-Times