Thanks to the Laquan McDonald protesters, Black Friday in Chicago took an interesting turn in the city’s most esteemed shopping district.
According to the Chicago Tribune, protesters took over the streets of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in the wake of the video release of the Laquan McDonald shooting.
First, here is the specific information.
McDonald was a 17-year-old black male who was shot 16 times by uniformed Chicago Police officers in the fall of 2014. In a DNAinfo report, CPD officer Jason Van Dyke aimed at McDonald when he was told to halt, then emptied his service weapon as the young man walked away. Van Dyke reloaded his weapon to continue shooting, but was told to cease his fire. By the time the shooting stopped, Laquan McDonald had his young life taken away from him.
The Chicago Sun-Times‘ initial reports had Laquan McDonald as a threat to the safety of the police officers on the scene. That recollection of the shooting was later debunked in an article from the Atlantic.
Laquan McDonald never had a chance to do much of anything. Officer Jason Van Dyke fired his weapon a mere 30 seconds after arriving on the scene.
That leaves barely enough time for him to take off his seat belt and exit his police SUV.
A curious $5 million settlement made to McDonald’s family suggested that there was more to the report. It suggested that there was either more to the story or that the story which we were given was utterly a farce. Once the video was released to the public, there was an outcry of people suggesting a mass cover-up that possibly went as high as Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s office. Why was the Laquan McDonald video released prior to the Chicago mayoral election?
Chances are great that there will never be an answer to that question. This is why protesters took the streets of Chicago on Black Friday – people want answers and results. One major development was that Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder for shooting Laquan McDonald. The city of Chicago will not rest until he is tried and a guilty verdict is handed down.
Twenty-seven stores along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile were closed due to the Laquan McDonald protesters.
The reason the Magnificent Mile shops were closed was for safety concerns regarding the employees, the customers and the protesters themselves. The Chicago protests have been primarily peaceful. There were a few reported arrests involving chastised protesters. This included an incident of pushing and shoving between protesters and police outside of Magnificent Mile’s Banana Republic, but nothing in comparison to what took place in Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri.
Black Friday shoppers were taken aback by the scene of people locked arm in arm, chanting the name of Laquan McDonald while asking for justice.
Was Black Friday a good day for Laquan McDonald protesters to target?
Black Friday is arguably the busiest shopping day of the year. If the statement to be was to hit the city where it hurts – financially, protesting in the Magnificent Mile was the loudest way to do so.
It is unclear how much money was lost during the Laquan McDonald protest. Stores lost out on sales. The city of Chicago lost much-needed tax revenue. All for at least one day. For Black Friday in Chicago, the story became about a peaceful movement of people, including Jesse Jackson, former candidate for mayor Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and local activist and priest Father Michael Pfleger. They all participated in rallies and protests, each of them demanding answers as to why the Laquan McDonald case was mishandled and swept under the rug.
Ironically, it was Cook County President Preckwinkle who pushed for a raise in the county sale’s tax just a week prior. The tax, which will rise to 10.25 percent, affects Chicago more than any other city in her jurisdiction. The loss of Black Friday sales along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile can hurt the city somewhere down the line. None of that mattered this day. She stepped out in the name of justice, despite what it could do for the city. It is likely that Chicago lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the protests.
Shutting down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on Black Friday was a calculated move by those who protested in the wake of the Laquan McDonald video. They made a statement on the busiest shopping day of the year by disallowing 27 shops to conduct business. Expect the protests to continue. Hopefully, they remain peaceful movements.
[Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images News]