A group of protesters cut off the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s speech on Laquan McDonald’s deadly shooting short Friday when they pulled the leader’s microphone and stormed the stairs where he spoke outside the historic Water Tower, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
“Indict Rahm!” the protesters shouted as a brief shoving match ensued.
Jackson and others who were ready to speak stopped their activities as the masses hijacked Jackson’s presentation, and competed with the shoppers who flocked downtown to advantage of Black Friday sales.
“No justice, no shopping,” some chanted. “Black lives matter not Black Friday!”
Others screamed, “16 shots, 13 months,” pointing to how long it took authorities to charge Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the African-American teenager’s death. McDonald’s body was shot 16 times.
“We want Rahm Emanuel in jail,” others said. They also chanted, “Black out Black Friday” and “The whole system is guilty as hell.”
A unity march, which started at Pioneer Court, was organized by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. But other groups, including one shouting “Black Power” and carrying red, green and black flags, were protesting the murder as well, and attempted at times to disrupt the PUSH group.
For several hours on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Michigan Avenue was effectively shut down from the river through a few blocks north of the water towers.
And about 10 protesters later made it onto Lake Shore Drive at Michigan Avenue, linking hands and chanting “Sixteen shots!” They halted traffic for about 10 minutes, before police ran toward them. The group then dropped hands and ran, eluding police.
Three people had been arrested in the protests as of 4:30 p.m., according to police. Misdemeanor charges of simple battery and traffic-related offenses were pending.
During Friday’s demonstration, officers blocked off the entrance of Water Tower Place. Some protesters had apparently tried to get into the popular shopping center.
At one point, shoppers were turned away from entering. “No justice, no profit,” marchers screamed.
Some protesters yelled at shoppers in front of Topshop, “Don’t shop today!” But the shoppers went in anyway.
There were some demonstrators who linked their arms in front of many stores, refusing to let anyone in. Several shoving matches broke out.
Paxton Murphy of Chicago’s South Loop said she was shoved and “forcibly pushed back as she was trying to enter the Crate and Barrel store, 646 N. Michigan.
“I’m totally, totally sick of these kids getting killed,” she said, “but that has nothing to do with me using the bathroom at the f—— Crate and Barrel.”
A block north outside the Tiffany & Co store, 730 N. Michigan, seven protesters locked arms, telling potential customers, “It’s closed,” and chanting, “While you shop, people get shot.”
A Tiffany security guard tried to help a customer push past them but a protester bumped into the guard.
“You can’t elbow her,” an African-American woman walking by called out. “You’re going to get yourself arrested.”
Later, another Tiffany customer demanded to get past protesters but protesters refused. The woman
became angry, and tried to push past. Police quickly ran over and tried to help her get into the store. That sparked a pushing and shoving melee between police and protesters, as police pushed and pulled the woman into the entrance where a frantic manager grabbed her I and pulled her inside.
Police and protesters got in each other’s faces for about 10 minutes before the tension quelled. Officers stepped back into their observation line, and protesters again blocked the entrance, chanting, ” Sixteen shots and a cover-up!” And, “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Rahm Emanuel has got to go!”
About 20 protesters blocked the doors of the Apple Store, 679 N Michigan.
“I understand what you guys are doing but I want to shop,” Bruno Behrend of River Forest told them.
“This is an example of white privilege,” someone yelled.
Then La’Mont Williams, 27, told him: “This store is closed because your life matters. We are doing an economic boycott.”
Williams of the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood blocked the door. Behrend and his family eventually gave up and left, prompting cheers from the protesters.
A man and woman from Omaha, Nebraska, failed to get into the Tommy Bahama store, 520 N. Michigan. They’d been visiting their daughter, who’s a resident in the emergency room at Stroger Hospital.
“This is not right,” said the woman, who declined to give her name. ” We didn’t do anything wrong. We just want to shop. This is our right.”
A couple from Carbondale traveled to came to Michigan Avenue Friday to shop at Zara and Sephora. They didn’t get into either. ”How are they going to get out?” Ohlim Kwon wondered about shoppers trapped inside the Zara, where protesters locked arms, saying “Shut it down.”
When told about McDonald’s shooting death, they were astounded. “That’s crazy,” Enoch Hwang said.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Police released a graphic dashcam video that captured the 16 shots fired by Van Dyke in October 2014. Van Dyke was charged the same day with murder, and is being held without bail in the Cook County Jail.
Outrage and protests followed the court-ordered release of the footage.
— Chicago Sun-Times, Sun-Times Media Wire