Hundreds of marchers in Chicago joined the national outrage over the killing of a black man in Minneapolis police custody, hitting the streets in protest Friday evening.
The protesters, who gathered near Millennium Park around 5 p.m., held signs that read, “Justice 4 George” and “Black lives matter” as they marched against traffic, south down Michigan Avenue.
“Say his name! George Floyd!” they chanted. They also yelled “I can’t breathe!” That’s what Floyd had said, several times, during the eight minutes a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck as he lay face-down on the street.
The protesters marched past Harold Washington Library and blocked the intersection of State Street and Ida B. Wells Parkway, then made their way west toward the start of the Eisenhower Expressway.
Tensions were high at times, especially when protesters broke through a police bicycle barricade, but things remained relatively peaceful. As of 10 p.m., Chicago police had reported no arrests.
The march and protest in Chicago occurred as protests in response to the killing of Floyd were spreading to dozens of cities across the nation, including New York City, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Houston, Floyd’s hometown.
The protests had started in Minneapolis, where Floyd died. While many of the protests have been peaceful, there have been several nights of unrest in Minneapolis, where a police precinct station was set ablaze and stores were looted.
In Atlanta on Friday, protesters smashed police cars and set one on fire.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was seen on video pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
Chauvin also was accused of ignoring another officer who expressed concerns about Floyd as he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading that he could not breathe as Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. Floyd, who was black, had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a store.
Josh Byrd said he went to the protest to stand against the injustices of Floyd’s death, even though it happened two states away.
“It hurts that this keeps happening, that police can keep killing people without being held accountable,” Byrd said. “This affects us all.”
Sun-Times reporters Madeline Kenney, Maudlyne Ihejirika and Manny Ramos and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
George Floyd protest reaches the I290 outside our place in Chicago. This was part of a bigger protest that moved south down Michigan Ave. They moved up the express ramp against the flow of traffic and blocked a crush of cars from exiting. pic.twitter.com/zf3kA4S10X— Mark Schipper (@MyTimesProse) May 29, 2020