Racial tension flares in mostly white Chicago neighborhood

CHICAGO (AP) — A largely white Chicago neighborhood that many police officers and firefighters call home has taken center stage this week in the city’s tensions over gun violence, race and policing as protests erupted following the fatal police shooting of a black man.

Some residents used racial slurs, revved motorcycle engines and yelled “go home” Tuesday night as protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement demanded an investigation into the death of 25-year-old Joshua Beal of Indianapolis. It was the second confrontation in Mount Greenwood since Beal, who police say was armed, was shot Saturday in what police said was a road rage incident following a funeral.

When protesters tried to conduct a prayer, some residents shouted “CPD, CPD” in support of the Chicago Police Department.

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Fan in gorilla suit runs on field during Lions-Bears game

(CHICAGO) A person dressed in a gorilla suit and a T-shirt that read “All Lives Matter” ran on the field during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Lions-Bears game at Soldier Field.

The person was tackled by security near the 40-yard line on the south side of the field near the Detroit bench. The fan was then escorted from the playing surface.

A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said he hadn’t heard about the incident. A message was left by The Associated Press seeking comment from the Bears.

The front of the person’s T-shirt read “All Lives Matter” in black lettering and the back said “Drop The Guns.”

The incident comes with several players in the league facing criticism for various displays during the national anthem. Some players who have protested have said they have concerns about treatment by police of African-Americans, a focal point for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

There didn’t appear to be any protests by the Lions or Bears before Sunday’s game.


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The Latest: Chicago activists say more cops isn’t the answer

(CHICAGO) Activists with Black Lives Matter Chicago say the city’s plan to add nearly 1,000 new positions at the police department isn’t the way to stop the violence.

The group said in a statement Wednesday that the crime and violence exist “because of the conditions of poverty that (Mayor) Rahm Emanuel has exacerbated.” The group cited mass school closings in 2013 and increasing taxes.

Black Lives Matter Chicago also said additional resources should instead be used to address employment, affordable housing and access to health care.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says the new positions will strengthen leadership on the force and help earn trust in the community.

City officials have not detailed the cost or how the new jobs will be paid for.


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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

Two protesters arrested on Magnificent Mile

(CHICAGO) About 200 protesters returned to Michigan Avenue on Thursday, clogging traffic along Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile on Christmas Eve.

The demonstration was mostly peaceful, but occasional tussles broke out with police, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. Police said two people were arrested and face misdemeanor charges. A 19-year-old man was charged with failure to obey police and disorderly conduct, and a 22-year-old man charged with battery and failure to obey police.

The protesters gathered at noon near the Michigan Avenue Bridge and marched back and forth on the Mag Mile and in the surrounding area for more than four hours. Organizers dubbed the event “Black Christmas.”

Recent protests have been sparked in general by anger over the treatment of black people by the Chicago Police Department, and specifically by the release of a dashcam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke on October 2014.

The city agreed to pay McDonald’s family $5 million before a lawsuit even was filed.

Van Dyke has since been charged with first-degree murder. Many were angered by how long the investigation of McDonald’s death took: 13 months. Others are convinced no charges would have been filed if the video, which the city initially fought to keep under wraps, had not been released.

Since then, allegations against other officers have come to light, more videos have been released and the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a probe of the Chicago Police Department.