Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in Chicago Monday evening in response to the shooting of Stephon Clark by police in Sacramento, California, along with the hundreds of others killed by police.
“It’s 2018 people. It’s 2018 and young black people, young queer people, young brown people, young immigrants, and people who are not so old are being gunned down in the streets by the authorities in this country,” said John Beacham of the ANSWER Coalition, one of several groups that organized the demonstration. “They assassinate and lynch black and brown people on the streets of America with absolute impunity.”
Clark was shot and struck eight times from behind on March 18th by Sacramento Police. He was unarmed. Police allege that Clark was facing officers and moving towards them when they fired more than 20 rounds in his direction, but a pathologist hired by the family found that allegation inconsistent. “The proposition that has been presented that he was assailing the officers, meaning he was facing the officers, is inconsistent with the prevailing forensic evidence,” said Dr. Bennet Omalu at a press conference over the weekend.
Clark’s death at the hands of police sparked daily protests in Sacramento, and several solidarity demonstrations around the country. On Sunday, a 61 year-old woman was struck by a police vehicle during a protest in Sacramento after the car accelerated into the crowd, video shows. Protests have also taken place in New York City, Portland, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, and Las Vegas, and are scheduled later this week for Boston and Seattle.
In Chicago, demonstrators rallied near Water Tower Place in the city’s busiest shopping district, before marching south through the Loop, eventually ending up in the shadow of Trump Tower.
"Say his name! Stephon Clark!" Demonstrators matching down Michigan Ave in Chicago pic.twitter.com/OBoCpqQ1LY
— Aaron Cynic (@aaroncynic) April 2, 2018
Demonstrators also called attention to the numerous cases where Chicago Police have shot and killed citizens, including Laquan McDonald. They also called out local and national government officials for devaluing the lives of people of color, pointing to the planned construction of a new $95 million police academy that received little community input while schools and social programs in neighborhoods go underfunded.
“We have a city that doesn’t give a damn about black lives,” Lashawn Latrice of Black Lives Matter Women of Faith told the crowd. “A governor who doesn’t give a damn about black lives. A president who doesn’t give a damn about black lives.”