By Jasmine Cen
Additional reporting by Max Greenwood.
Thousands of people packed Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on Black Friday to voice their outrage and mourning over for the death of Laquan McDonald.
“We come down here to shut it down and you ain’t gonna shop today,” protesters sang.
Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black teenager, was shot 16 times by white police officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder last week.
The release of a police video on Tuesday documenting the shooting ignited mass protests that took over streets in downtown Chicago but remained peaceful for the most part. In the continuous response after Tuesday, protesters shut down Michigan Avenue during one of the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.
Protesters came together in shared outrage over 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s death. They expressed disappointment over the 13 months that law enforcement took to bring charges against Van Dyke.
The Friday protests included members from political groups, religious groups and civil right activists, according to Mike Holman, a member of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network based in Chicago and one of the organizers of the protest. People of all races joined in the protest.
The Friday march started with two arrests but remained peaceful.
After protesters walked up and down on Michigan Avenue, they formed chains to block off store entrances and prevent shoppers from continuing their Black Friday shopping. A few determined shoppers attempted to break through but failed.
“We are here as part of the protest to make sure that Michigan Avenue is shut down and solidarity with victims of police abuse, and to make sure a movement that reverses this kind of injustices,” said Peter Hudis, a teacher at Oakton Community College.
The protest continues efforts to raise awareness about McDonald’s death while community leaders share concerns about the youth in Chicago.
“The youth [is] gonna grew up jaded,” said Michael Neal, a pastor at Chicago Glorious Church, “They are gonna be discouraged, and just angry. Because they obviously see that the adult who are charged, and who are caring for them and leading the way being an example are not doing so.”
Youth and adults viewed the protest as an opportunity to speak up and participate in the larger movement.
“I grew up feeling that fear, but today, right now, I am determined,” said Darrius Lightfoot, a co-founder of Fearless by the Youth, “I am free. My man is liberated, and today we will take charge, and we will take over, and we will show this imperialist and capitalist system how to value this black dollar.”
Many shoppers took a break from shopping and observed the scene. Business on Michigan Avenue resumed to normal after about 3 p.m. when only a few protesters remained to keep shoppers from entering stores.