#DAYS OF PROTESTS

The people take the streets of Chicago after years of police brutality and disinvestment

By The TRiiBE Team Photos by Darius Griffin

The people tried peacefully protesting. That didn’t work. They tried seeking justice in court, but a historically racist system reared its ugly head nearly every time, ruling in favor of the oppressor over our Black skin. 

It happened to Rekia Boyd in 2012. Dante Servin, the off-duty Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer who killed her, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, and was later cleared in a bench trial after the judge ruled that he should have been charged with first-degree murder. 

It happened to Laquan McDonald in 2014. CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shot him 16 times. Initially, Van Dyke wasn’t charged and the shooting was ruled justified — until several protests and a FOIA request resulted in a court-ordered release of the dash-cam video showing the shooting. Even then, after being found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, the officer was only sentenced to 6.75 years in prison.

The police killings of unarmed Black people such as George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., have sparked uprisings nationwide. Here in Chicago, tensions stem from CPD’s abusive, and at times torturous, relationship with the Black community. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice found that CPD engaged in a pattern of “unconstitutional force,” that resulted in racially discriminatory conduct and the harmful treatment of Black and Latino people. Coupled with the socio-economic challenges of COVID-19 and the ongoing disinvestment in Black neighborhoods, communities are starting to rebel and demand what they need.

On Saturday, May 30, Chicago joined cities across the U.S. in the “Day of Protest,” organized locally by the Chicago Alliance against Racist and Political Repression. “We, the thugs, demand justice,” one protestor’s sign read. 

The TRiiBE team covered the protest on our Twitter page. An estimated 3,000 protestors took the streets peacefully, taking an eight-minute moment of silence for George Floyd, uplifting Breonna Taylor’s name, footworking on police squad cars and freestyle rapping about the impact of police brutality. 

As tensions intensified between law enforcement and protesters, our video and photo coverage captured physical confrontations, vandalized police cars, crowds attempting to flip over a CPD wagon and people spilling onto Lake Shore Drive, which resulted in the closure of northbound and southbound lanes and the Chicago city flag being set on fire. Later in the day, police administered pepper gas and crowds broke into stores at the Water Tower Place and other shops on Michigan Avenue.

On Sunday, May 31, business owners and community members worked to clean up the broken glass and debris left behind. Meanwhile, peaceful protestors continued to march through downtown Chicago and neighborhoods across the city in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others killed by the police. Additionally, Chicago and Illinois government officials are ramping up police presence as looting and other unlawful activities are happening at retail stores and malls across the city and its surrounding suburbs.

We’ve compiled a list of responses from local government officials, community organizers and more about what’s happening on the ground in Chicago.

Click on the tabs below to read updates from each group.