Hundreds of protesters march in Chicago, briefly shut down highway

Friday, July 8, 2016
Hundreds of protesters march in Chicago
There is anger and outrage in Chicago and across the country following the deadly shooting of two African American men by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is anger and outrage in Chicago and across the country following the deadly shooting of two African American men by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Loop and on the South Side, a few clashing with police.

Protesters marching from 51st and Wentworth briefly shut down the express and local lanes of the northbound Dan Ryan at 55th Street. A group tried to get into Taste of Chicago but were turned away. At least two people were detained by police.

"It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains," the protesters chanted as they walked.

Maurice Smith saw the planned protest on Facebook, left work and drove to join.

"They fear us more than they want to help us," he says. "I cried for those two gentlemen that got shot. Even though they may have pasts, they human. They don't deserve to get shot down like animals."

Charnae Williams noticed the diversity of the protesters, united for change.

"I didn't think this many people were going to be here and to see a lot of white people, it made me feel better. Because they care too. They aren't all racist and aren't all being quiet about it, because their silence is deadly," she says.

Protesters also gathered in the hundreds and thousands in New York, Washington D.C., Baton Rouge and other major cities. Hundreds of protesters braved the rain and gathered outside the Minnesota governor's official residence to protest the police shooting of a black man. The crowd swelled to more than 1,000 for a time as people marched from a vigil Thursday evening for Philando Castile.

Videos taken at the scenes of both shootings have gone viral and once again there are demands for justice. A protest is being held in the Loop by The Revolution Club, while another protest is being held on the South Side. Black activists here continue their fight for justice.

"Yes we have video, but what are you going to do about holding them accountable for their actions?" asks Kirstin Brockenboroug of Black Youth Project 100.

Federal investigations are being requested for both incidents. Wednesday night Castile was killed during a traffic stop outside of St. Paul, Minn. With the officer still pointing a gun into the car, Castile's girlfriend calmly began livestreaming the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.

This follows Tuesday's shooting in Baton Rouge, La., where Alton Sterling was killed as video appears to show an officer pinning him down with a second assisting. The officers were responding to a 911 call of a man brandishing a gun.

"People don't wait for facts anymore, people don't wait for circumstances to play out anymore," says Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Angelo says no matter how bad the video looks, it's important to wait for the facts and the context before judging the officers involved.

"Certainly you need to know all the evidence on one hand. On the other hand, pictures can tell a thousand words and these videotapes leave little or any room for argument," says Flint Taylor, civil rights attorney with People's Law Office.

Taylor hopes videos, no matter who shoots them, will help change a police culture for the better.

"People are seeing that across the country, people are saying, who live in those communities, 'I told you so,'" says Taylor.

Angelo says he tells new police recruits to act like they are always on camera, and says he supports body cameras.

The downtown protesters are on their way to meet up with the South Side protesters, who are gathered at Area Central at 51st and Wentworth.