The morning after mass protests in Ferguson and across the country, protestors flooded the fifth floor foyer in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall office, demanding reform in the police treatment of black Chicagoans.
“We’re calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as one of the most powerful Democrats in this country to take a stand,” said Charlene Carruthers, national coordinator of Black Youth Project 100. “The city council is complicit because they can do something.”
A grand jury in Missouri Monday night announced its decision not to indict Darren Wilson, 28, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black man, in early August. The protests that followed gained national attention.
Monday night, protests erupted again in Ferguson and other major cities across the country, including Chicago. While protests in Ferguson turned violent, including the torching of police cars and other buildings, protests in Chicago remained peaceful. Tear gas was used in Ferguson less than an hour after the decision at around 8:20 p.m.
More than 100 people, mostly young, filled Chicago’s City Hall, their chants echoing through the building. Bordered by police officers, they sat in through the morning, planning to stay for 28 hours – 1 p.m. Wednesday – the same amount of time, the group claims a member of U.S. law enforcement kills a black citizen. It’s unknown if protestors will be allowed in City Hall overnight. While Emanuel was in City Hall early Tuesday, police were unsure if he was still in the building when the protests occurred.
The crowd featured a variety of activists, from students, to the Revolutionary Communist Party, to Bernardine Dohrn, a member of the Weather Underground, a radical group known for bombing government buildings in the late 60s.
Protestors called for demilitarization of police forces, legalization of marijuana, Department of Justice oversight of police departments, and an independent citizen review board, which would have subpoena power and a budget.
“It’s our duty to fight, it’s our duty to win, we have nothing to lose but our chains,” Protestors shouted before falling to the floor, holding hands.
By: Maria Castellucci, Elizabeth Earl, Andrew Fair, Kaley Fowler, Kaitlin Lounsberry, Colin Petersen, Hannah Rajnicek, Colin Stepek and Dan Zar.