Hundreds rally in Loop for police reform

Demonstrators at the Thompson Center demanded an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council, which would be able to hire and fire the police superintendent, create policy, investigate misconduct claims and set the budget.

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Hundreds of community activists march outside City Hall during a protest on June 17, 2020. They demanded civilian control over the Chicago Police Department.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

About 200 people gathered downtown in front of the Thompson Center Wednesday morning, calling for community oversight of the Chicago Police Department.

Demonstrators called for the creation of a democratically elected Civilian Police Accountability Council that would hold the power to hire and fire the police superintendent, create policy, investigate misconduct claims and set the budget.

Dozens of people held “Defund the Police” and “Black Lives Matter” signs as a caravan of honking vehicles — each decorated with similar signs — circled the block.

The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression organized the event.

Nearly all demonstrators wore masks and appeared to be socially distancing.

Lauren Walsh, a Chicago Public Schools teacher at Beidler Elementary in Garfield Park, rode her bike to the protest from her home in Pilsen.

“Teachers have so much accountability and police seem to have zero accountability,” she said.

“I teach pretty much all Black students so it’s important to me,” said Walsh, 37.

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“It would be really hard for people in the Black community to unsee the police as a threat,” she said.

Previous reforms aren’t working and the police department needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, she said.

“Complete change” is necessary, she said, adding: “It will be hard and it will be frustrating.”

After rallying on the plaza outside the Thompson Center, the protesters marched across the street to City Hall.

Vehicles formed a caravan and circled the Thompson Center on Wednesday during a rally for an elected civilian board that would supervise the Chicago Police Department.

Vehicles formed a caravan and circled the Thompson Center on Wednesday during a rally for an elected civilian board that would supervise the Chicago Police Department.

Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

RALLY_06182020_19.jpg

Hundreds of community activists march outside City Hall during a protest on June 17, 2020. They demanded civilian control over the Chicago Police Department.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

RALLY_06182020_17.jpg

Police officers stand outside City Hall as hundreds of activists participate in a caravan and protest to demand civilian control over the police on June 17, 2020.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Hundreds of community activists hold a protest outside the James R. Thompson Center on June 17, 2020. They demanded civilian control over the Chicago Police Department.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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