Second day of protests after no indictment in Eric Garner chokehold death

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Protestors marched through the Loop for a second day Friday, voicing their outrage at a grand jury's decision not to indict a New York City officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Protestors gathered at the Chicago Police Dept. District 1 office on 17th and State in the South Loop Friday night, where approximately 10 protestors who were arrested Friday were taken to be processed. Three people were arrested around Michigan and Randolph around 8 p.m. after police said they refused to clear the intersection, and a few minutes later, a few more protesters were arrested at Michigan and Adams. Police say they arrested a total of 16 people.

"Today we were blocked from crossing the street. We were peacefully protesting. We want to see cops retrained, not just for shooting people, but just on how to properly handle their citizens," said Thomas Stovall, a protestor.

While some protesters have expressed frustration that they were kept on the sidewalk Friday night, the demonstrations have remained peaceful. At one point, protestors stopped at Water Tower Plaza for a moment of silence for Michael Brown, who was fatally shot in Ferguson, Mo.

Earlier Friday, protestors gathered at Jackson and State at 1:30 p.m. and shortly after began their march through the streets of downtown Chicago.

The group, which began with about 50 people and has grown and shrunk as the protest continues, traveled past the Dirksen Federal Building and stopped at the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza briefly before continuing up State Street to Wacker Drive where police turned them around.

Speaking about her boyfriend, who marched alongside her, one protestor said, "I'm afraid that someone is going to see him on the street and assume he's scary and dangerous when he's not. He's never done anything wrong in his entire life. And I'm scared for his life. I'm scared that one day he won't come home and I'm going to have to hear about it on the news, or identify his body in the morgue. That's what scares me."

"People in the black community deserve the same rights and privileges that the police who police them do," said another protester.

Friday morning a group of protestors met at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, Ashland Avenue and Division Street in Chicago's West Town neighborhood. Children and parents, many from Near North Montessori School, chanted "black lives matter." They carried signs and some laid in silence in Polonia Triangle.

"It can start at the grassroots level with minorities who are angry and fed up," said protestor Craig Boyd, "but change will only come if we all do something about it, if we all come together to say enough is enough."

Hundreds of protestors marched in downtown Chicago for several hours Thursday night.

"I honestly think that if we keep doing this every day, we demand respect. We will be out here every day. We will do this every single day until we get justice," said Brittany Brown, who marched in the Loop Thursday night.

"The Chicago Police Department will always protect resident rights to free speech and peaceful assembly," CPD said in a statement.

Another rally is planned for later Saturday at 63rd Street and King Drive in the city's Woodlawn neighborhood.

PHOTOS: Protestors march in Chicago Loop


CHURCH LEADERS CALL FOR ACTION

Protesters could block more Chicago streets this weekend. At least six local church communities plan to block traffic to demonstrate against what they call systematic mistreatment of African Americans.

Several of Chicago's churches are planning a unity march on Sunday. Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church says congregations must help bring communities back together.

"We have to build the bridge between the community and between the police," Pfleger said. "It's going to be work on both sides. But we also have to fix a broken justice system. We can't tell our young people to use the system, use the system, when the system's not working, the system's broken."

Pfleger plans to lead his congregation to the busy intersection of 79th Street and Racine Avenue in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood on Sunday.

Members of West Churches will also march Sunday. They are meeting at 3860 West Ogden Avenue at 11 a.m. Organizers say they will walk east on Ogden to Central Park Avenue to block traffic on all sides. There will be prayer, speeches on unity and justice. Organizers are expecting about 500 people.

The leaders of several churches created a YouTube video calling on congregations of every race and faith to spill out into the street during services on Sunday.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Black Lives Matter Chicago


YouTube isn't the only platform church leaders are using to drum up support. They are also using #blacklivesmatter to spread the word on social media.

"As a symbol. As we interrupt traffic, we want to interrupt this racial profiling. Interrupt a social justice system that is not working in this country. The injustice and the killing of black youth," said Pfleger.

The priests and pastors said there is a mistaken perception that churches do not want to be involved in this controversy. To the contrary, they said it's more important than ever that people of different backgrounds unite.

"I do not believe in any kind of violence ever. But at the same time, we have to tell police and we have to tell the system, 'You can't be violent either.' So, until there's a waking up in this country and we're willing to face this head-on, I think we'll see this continue to grow across America," Pfleger said.
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