Elected officials, community activists and labor leaders are planning a demonstration billed as a “march for justice” Friday up Michigan Avenue, the city’s premier shopping district, in the wake of the release of video showing a police officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald.
Demonstrators are calling for an independent investigation into the case and are questioning why it took more than a year for authorities to release the video to the public and to bring charges against the officer.
Some also are demanding the resignation of Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Cook County State’s Atty. Anita Alvarez, accusing them of mishandling the case.
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in connection with McDonald’s death in October 2014. Hours after the charge was announced, the city released a dash-cam recording showing Van Dyke repeatedly shooting the 17-year-old in the middle of Pulaski Road.
Four protesters were arrested Wednesday night during an otherwise mostly peaceful march involving a group of about 100. Several protesters were taken into custody when they attempted to jump over barricades.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson hosted a series of meetings Wednesday with elected officials, community leaders, youth activists and labor leaders to plan a response to the McDonald case.
The march is set for 11 a.m. local time Friday, beginning at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Demonstrators plan to march north on Michigan on the Magnificent Mile during one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
“The whole idea is that we need a massive demonstration,” Jackson said in an interview Wednesday. “And a massive quest for justice.”
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is among those planning to attend the march.
“It is time to turn our pain into power,” Lewis said in a statement. She encouraged union members to “express their outrage and dignity” by participating in the demonstration.
Chicago police said Thursday they would continue to protect demonstrators’ 1st Amendment rights.
“We will have the appropriate police resources to support peaceful demonstrations,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
NAACP leaders also called for reforms to the way police-involved shootings are handled in Chicago, pushing for changes to the Independent Police Review Authority and for the creation of a review board made up of community members.
Activists also want a special prosecutor assigned to the Van Dyke case.