George Floyd death: Chicagoans march in solidarity with protests in Minneapolis; activist Ja'mal Green lends voice in Minnesota

"I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump," Lightfoot said. "It's two words. It begins with F, and it ends with U."

Saturday, May 30, 2020
Chicagoans march in Loop to protest George Floyd's killing
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Demonstrators took to the streets in Chicago's Loop to protest in solidarity with those in Minneapolis calling for justice in the death of George Floyd.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As the anger and protests continue in Minneapolis after the death of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of police, Chicago activists, as well as city and state leaders, took a strong stance in support of justice for Floyd.

RELATED: Arresting officer charged with murder in death of George Floyd

Friday evening a group of about 100 protesters took to the streets of downtown Chicago to demonstrate in support of Floyd and the Minneapolis protesters.

Emotional protesters took over quieter-than-usual city streets and outmaneuvered patrolling police officers, briefly shutting down traffic to the Eisenhower Expressway.

Chicago protesters and police stayed largely peaceful, but their emotions, even as the officer is charged with murder, are visibly raw.

African American residents in Chicago said they understand the pain and anger fueling the demonstrations a couple states over.

"You get tired of police brutality," said Edward Vaughn. "I think it's about time people started standing up for themselves."

"I am extremely frustrated, but I think at this point I am kind of numb to the situation," said Shaliah Ramsey.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot called out President Trump for his controversial tweet about the protests, saying "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

The phrase originates with the Miami police chief in 1967, who was talking about cracking down on African Americans during protests around the Republican National Convention, ABC News reported.

Mayor Lightfoot was direct in her response.

"I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump," she said. "It's two words. It begins with F, and it ends with U."

"I think the state response, particularly the tweets by the president about shooting looters, also, for me, harken back very strongly to the 1960s here in Chicago," said Elizabeth Todd-Breland, UIC history professor.

Many in Chicago are relieved that charges have been filed against the former Minneapolis police officer for Floyd's killing, but journalist Jamie Kalven, who broke the Laquan McDonald story, said holding police officer accountable isn't enough.

"It was a matter of historical importance that officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of the murder of Laquan McDonald," Kalven said. "That didn't change the underlying system that produced Jason Van Dyke and that terrible murder."

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker responded to the protests and events, saying, "The threat that comes to every black American under color of law that they see in a video like that, we're lucky that that video was ever taken because that is happening around America, probably every day."

Pritzker further condemned President Trump's response to the George Floyd case and the protests that have erupted in Minneapolis and across the U.S.

"From the very moment that I announced my decision to run for governor 3+ years ago, I said that this president was a racist, misogynist, homophobe, a xenophobe, and I was right then and I'm right now," Pritzker said. "His tweets, his reaction, his failure to address the racism that exists in America, it is stoking of the flames in sometimes subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways."

Lightfoot said the city had a plan to protect demonstrators at Friday's protest and did remind everyone coming out to protest to make sure they remember that COVID-19 is still spreading in the city, and to take precautions to keep themselves and those around them safe.


Chicago activist Ja'mal Green traveled to Minneapolis to support the demonstrators, and cell phone video he took shows a police station lit on fire by protestors.

Green spoke with ABC 7 Chicago from Minneapolis Friday morning as buildings were still smoldering.

"They want to demonize these people because they're angry," Green said. "After being contained in communities with no opportunities, with no resources and dealing with a police department that are treating them like dogs and killing them with no accountability of justice. How do you expect people to feel? Have to continue to watch the brothers and sister be killed in front of them on tape? How do you expect them to feel? They're fighting like they have nothing to lose."

Reverend Jesse Jackson is also in Minneapolis, meeting with local faith leaders to encourage peaceful protesting.