CHICAGO (AP) – After days of protests in Chicago since the release of a video showing a teenager shot 16 times by a police officer, demonstrators were poised to disrupt Black Friday shopping with a march through the heart of the city’s most famous retail district.
Demonstrators scheduled the march on Friday, the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season that packs Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. Activists hope to bring attention to the Oct. 20, 2014, slaying of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald and an investigation into his shooting that some say was mishandled.
“This is going to give an opportunity for all of Chicago to come out, demonstrate their outrage and their anger in a nonviolent way, (and) interrupt the economic engine of Black Friday,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest and prominent local activist.
The graphic dashcam video that shows McDonald being shot repeatedly by Officer Jason Van Dyke was released Tuesday, the same day Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. He’s been ordered held without bond.
In recent days, there has been talk that marchers taking part in the Black Friday protest would engage in acts of civil disobedience, such as blocking store entrances to prevent shoppers from getting inside. On Thursday, one of the march’s leaders, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said no such acts were planned, but they could happen.