CHICAGO – Hundreds of protesters blocked store entrances and shut down four lanes of traffic in Chicago's ritziest shopping district on Black Friday to draw attention to the 2014 police killing of a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white officer.
Demonstrators shrugged off a cold drizzling rain to turn the traditional start of the holiday shopping season on Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile into a high-profile platform from which to deliver their message: The killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was another example of what they say is the systemic disregard police show for black people.
They chanted "16 shots! 16 shots!" and stopped traffic to express their anger over the killing of McDonald and the subsequent investigation, which they say was mishandled.
Prosecutors charged the officer, Jason Van Dyke, with first-degree murder on Tuesday, hours before police released disturbing dashcam video of McDonald's death.
Among the marchers was Frank Chapman, 73, who said the video confirmed what activists have said for years about Chicago police brutality. "That needs to end," he said.
Officers along the sidewalk formed a barrier of sorts between the protesters and stores and helped shoppers get through the doors. But protesters blocked store entrances on both sides of Michigan Avenue for more than three blocks.