There’s plenty of action going on as of this writing on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile, an area that contains plenty of upscale shops. The protests are taking place outside the Water Tower Place in the heart of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue shopping district on Black Friday — all the way to the Apple Store. Plenty of protests took place on the south-facing side of the old Water Tower. Others moved from the Wrigley Building area farther north or were directed towards the street. Chants of “16 shots!” could be heard. Michigan Avenue was closed from Superior, going north.
As seen on the article titled “Live Blog: Mag Mile marchers protest Laquan McDonald shooting” on the Chicago Tribune website, Rev. Jesse Jackson tried to speak. However, during his speech, different protesters in the crowd began arguing with one another. A man with a bullhorn was screaming loudly and made it hard to hear what others were saying.
“Send Rahm to jail.”
Some protested Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel with chants to send him to jail. Others in the protest focused on Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old who was shot 16 times. The protesters planned to disrupt the shopping on the cold and rainy Black Friday. A certain amount of shoppers being interviewed had no idea that there were planned protests for Black Friday and wondered why people were crowding Michigan Avenue.
Certain protesters spoke of wanting jobs, better housing, and to be assured of remaining safe from police. The focus on police brutality shut down about five blocks of the normally crowded Michigan Avenue. However, other shoppers were able to continue shopping on the Mag Mile during the grey weather. The protest made for an interesting view looking north on Michigan Avenue as the light rain showers continued and the normally crowded street was emptied of the cars, cabs, and buses that usually crowd the famous street in throngs.
As of this writing, the protests in Chicago have been relatively peaceful. There was an altercation that involved a punch or two being thrown, but overall, the protests have been a way for folks to try and get their voices heard without disruption and fires and windows being broken. It isn’t known yet how much the protests on Michigan Avenue will affect Black Friday sales, however, once the day is over and retailers have tallied the amount of sales and gross revenue earned in comparison to previous Black Friday sales during former years, they will report those findings.
On Twitter, a search for Chicago turns up the most recent happenings in the city, and a lot of those occurrences include the most recent incidents about the protests on Michigan Avenue. While the protests on Black Friday in Chicago began relatively peacefully, earlier protests in Chicago did feature demonstrators tearing down lights on the city’s Christmas tree. After that melee in Chicago on November 25, police began to guard the Christmas tree from further damage.
The protests in Chicago are a continuation of the frustration felt by those who saw the videos of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. It took more than 400 days for videos of McDonald’s shooting death to be released. Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Laquan. One video was initially released that showed McDonald running in the middle of the street and Van Dyke unleashing a hail of 16 bullets. Van Dyke had to be restrained from reloading his weapon.
The shooting death of Laquan took place on October 20, 2014.
Some of the doorways to the stores being blocked in Chicago should be reopened on Black Friday.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]