Black Friday protests shake Chicago

By: Jonathan S. Hogue ~Opinions & Editorials Editor~

Chicago Protest Pic
Photo courtesy of | Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left) and Police Chief Garry McCarthy (right) speak at a news conference in Chicago.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, the city of Chicago was in the national spotlight as it addressed issues of police brutality.

In October 2014, 16-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot by a police officer 16 times after an altercation with Chicago Police officers. Police dash cams caught the shooting on video, but the department initially kept the footage out of the public eye.

After numerous debates and a court order, the Chicago Police Department released the footage, which set off numerous protests throughout the city for most of the holiday. Protesters were angered by Mayor Emanuel, police chief McCarthy and Cook County state attorney Anita Alverez after a one-year process of bringing charges against the gunman, Office Jason Van Dyke.

Protesters occupied busy city streets during the Black Friday rush, chanting “16 shots” to represent the number of times Van Dyke shot McDonald during the altercation. Black Lives Matter activists, Rev. Jesse Jackson and prominent African American leaders led rallies around the Daley Center, City Hall and, most famously, on the city’s crowded Magnificent Mile to send a message to the city’s business and civic leaders.

McCarthy answered questions after the protests, in which he emphatically stated his opposition to resigning and said that Mayor Emanuel “has (his) back” in the process.

In a surprise to observers and McCarthy, Mayor Emanuel fired McCarthy in an effort to bring unity and order to his administration.

“McCarthy has become an issue rather than someone dealing with the issue,” Emanuel said on Tuesday in a press conference.

While this move buys Emanuel and Alverez time, protesters still want both leaders to resign and new laws to be created and implemented by the City Council.

Soon, Mayor Emanuel and the new police chief will have to address claims that officers deleted footage from a nearby Burger King camera that recorded the shooting.

“Burger King District Manager said police deleted the security footage after spending more than three hours in the restaurant,” a Chicago NBC affiliate reported days after the footage was released.

The footage disappearance will likely encourage more protests and calls for top city officials to resign as the city deals with the aftermath of McDonald’s death.