Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised to make the city’s criminal justice system more transparent in the wake of several deadly shootings by police that sparked anger in the African-American community. But until the mayor makes good on that promise, local activists this week pledged to make it difficult for the city to carry out business as usual.
After organizing disruptive protests on Black Friday and during the Christmas shopping season, activists have planned a Black Wall Street action that targets financial trading institutions in the Windy City, DNAInfo reported. Leaders of the Coalition for a New Chicago said they will block the entrances of the Chicago Board of Trade and other stock exchanges around 6 a.m. Friday to prevent employees from going to work.
"We want people to know that poor people across this city are in pain, so we look at this as a redistribution of that pain," said the Rev. Gregory Livingston, president of the coalition, according to DNAInfo. "Since the mayor has made it clear he only listens to the monied interests in this city, we're going to take it straight to them."
The Board of Trade, located at Jackson Boulevard near LaSalle Street, is Chicago’s version of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. Although previous social movements have targeted the Board of Trade over socioeconomic issues, the coalition said it seeks the release of video in a police shooting that killed 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman.
Activists said there are three surveillance videos that show the moment Chicago Police Officer Kevin Fry shot Chatman in January of 2013. The teen had been running away from the plainclothes officer when he was shot, according to a report by local ABC station WLS-TV. Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates officer-involved shootings, ruled the incident justified last fall.
It’s the latest demand for video showing police use of lethal force, following last year's release of dashcam video in the officer-involved deaths of Ronald Johnson and Laquan McDonald. Public reaction to the videos prompted Emanuel to fire the city’s police superintendent and create a police oversight task force charged with developing new training methods for officers.
"At the same time that the mayor was making a speech calling for a new age of transparency, his corporate counsel was fighting to keep us from seeing what really happened here," Chicago activist William Callaway said, according to DNAInfo’s report. "If Rahm wants to act on the transparency he promised, he needs to make a call to have that video released immediately."