8:55 p.m. Hundreds of protesters pause for 9 minutes to remember George Floyd at Dunbar Park rally
Hundreds of protesters filled Douglas’ Dunbar Park on Wednesday afternoon on the sixth consecutive day of George Floyd protests across Chicago.
But for nine minutes — the length of time ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck prior to the latter’s death last week — the only sounds heard in the park were of honking cars and television helicopters as protesters kneeled and held a moment of silence.
“The only way you can take nine minutes to kill someone while they’re pleading for their life is if you don’t think that they’re human,” protest organizer Kobi Guillory said. “This is something we need to do to put this in perspective and humanize ourselves.”
Guillory and others from the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression planned the protest through social media Wednesday.
7:05 p.m. Little Village residents march in support of Black Lives Matter protesters
The crowd was silent as residents knelt on one knee, raised their fists in the air while observing a moment of silence for George Floyd under the iconic archway welcoming the public to Little Village.
Laura Ramirez, an organizer from El Foro Del Pueblo, walked through the crowd waving burning sage, which is an indigenous tradition believed to help prayers elevate to God.
“This fight is long, and this is not going to end today,” Ramirez said to the group, many holding signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
For two hours Wednesday morning, the group took over the business corridor of 26th Street in Little Village, chanting Floyd’s name and equating police to federal immigration agents. The effort comes after days of rising racial tensions among Latinos and African Americans after protests denouncing the death of Floyd led to people breaking into businesses and vandalism throughout the city.
5:50 p.m. Exhausted, abused Chicago Police officers need a break, top cop says
Three days after massive rioting and looting prompted the city to cancel days off, Chicago police officers are exhausted, burned out and in desperate need of relief, CPD Supt. David Brown said Wednesday.
“It’s not lost on me that our folks are human. Working them 12-hour days for extended periods, fatigue sets in. You get this risk factor that they’ve been on the front line too long,” Brown said during a conference call with City Hall reporters.
“So we’re working on relief factor for these officers. We are cognizant that we might have to pull some off the line just to get them that break so they can just de-compress from the constant verbal and physical assaults from factions in the crowd. … Their wellness from a mental health perspective has to be taken into consideration.”
Brown said he plans to provide that sorely-needed relief while maintaining the 375 members of the Illinois National Guard summoned to Chicago to control the downtown perimeter
4:55 p.m. Timid City Hall and undermanned cops turned Saturday unrest into a ‘s—tshow,’ police union president says
Saturday night was a “s—tshow” in downtown Chicago because police were undermanned and ill-equipped and City Hall was too timid to take the steps necessary to prevent rioting, looting and mayhem, the police union president said Wednesday.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said curfew should have been imposed on Saturday morning — not Saturday night — and strictly enforced by impounding vehicles instead of allowing those vehicles to transport looted merchandise. The downtown area should have been sealed off Saturday morning also, he said.
Police days off should also have been canceled Saturday morning — not Sunday — and the Illinois National Guard should have been called out sooner and in far greater numbers than the 375 authorized by Gov. J.B. Pritzker at Lightfoot’s request only to control the downtown perimeter, Catanzara said.
Earlier this week, CPD Supt. David Brown pegged the number of injured officers at 132, including one officer suffering a heart attack during the mayhem.
4:25 p.m. COLUMN: Latinos and African Americans must unite against racism
All too often in Chicago, Latinos and African Americans fight for scraps.
We have to accept slumlords as landlords. We don’t know where to turn when our wages are stolen. When they join the workforce, African Americans fight against the stereotype of being lazy. Mexicans and other Latin Americans get exploited for cheap labor.
It can make people angry. Sometimes, they misplace blame for their lot in life. I’ve sometimes heard Latinos join the chorus of whites who speak of Africans Americans as a threat to their safety or economic mobility.
They should see that Latinos and African Americans have a lot in common, especially in working class neighborhoods. Many of our families started out in Chicago with no money or a place to live. Many have encountered racism that dehumanizes.
3:35 p.m. Man pointed gun at ATF agent’s face while toddler stood nearby, feds allege
Federal prosecutors say a man with a toddler by his side pointed a handgun in the face of an ATF agent in Englewood just after midnight Wednesday morning, told the agent to “keep moving” and then picked up the child and ran.
The allegations against Joseph Hammond, 33, appear in a seven-page criminal complaint filed in federal court Wednesday.
A 911 call reporting there was a man shooting a gun while carrying a book bag and a baby in the 900 block of West 68th Street drew agents to West 68th and South Sangamon around 12:02 a.m. Wednesday. On the northwest corner, they found Hammond, who was standing with his hands at his side with a toddler in front of him.
When agents approached in their vehicle to speak to Hammond, they said he pointed a black semiautomatic handgun with an extended magazine at an agent’s face and said, “Keep moving.”
3:02 p.m. Binny’s pledges to reopen 11 damaged stores
Binny’s Beverage Depot, the region’s dominant chain of liquor stores, sustained damage at 11 of its 42 locations across Illinois, including six in Chicago, and is evaluating when they will reopen.
Greg Versch, director of communications, said Wednesday no stores will be closed permanently. He emphasized Binny’s builds deep ties in the communities it serves.
“With our employee base and the relationships we have, we’re seeing an outpouring of goodwill and people saying they are looking forward to our reopening,” he said.
Because of its cavernous stores, Binny’s has been a lucrative target for looters, even if just for smash-and-grab opportunists. Versch said locations such as Lincoln Park, Rover North and Hyde Park were especially torn up.
He said the Hyde Park store was damaged Saturday and boarded up, then on Sunday someone rammed through the boards with a U-Haul vehicle, prompting a new round of looting.
Outlets with less damage may be ready to reopen, at least for curbside pickups, in a few days, Versch said.
2:06 p.m. Report: 3 more cops to be charged in George Floyd’s death
MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors plan to charge a Minneapolis police officer accused of pressing his knee against George Floyd’s neck with second-degree murder, and for the first time will level charges against three other officers at the scene, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Widely seen bystander video showing Floyd’s May 25 death has sparked protests nationwide and around the world. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired May 26 and initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers involved were also fired but were not immediately charged.
The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison would be upgrading the charge against Chauvin while also charging Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. The newspaper cited multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.
12:52 p.m. Obama Foundation will host virtual town hall Wednesday
The Obama Foundation will host a virtual town hall at 4 p.m. Wednesday to “discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific actions needed to transform a system that has led to the loss of too many lives.” Panelists will include President Barack Obama, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, Minneapolis City Council Representative Phillipe Cunningham and Playon Patrick. youth leader with the My Brother’s Keeper alliance. The conversation will be moderated by Campaign Zero co-founder Brittany Packnett Cunningham.
Stay tuned for our coverage of the conversation, “Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence.”
11:32 a.m. Little Village marchers speak out against racial tension in community
Days after racial tension mounted between Little Village residents and African Americans protesting the death of George Floyd, protesters marched down 26th street and encouraged unity.
The march started with indigenous rituals. A woman reminded the small crowd gathered to watch that George Floyd died over $20. She asked out loud how much a life is worth.
The march starts with indigenous rituals. A woman reminds the small crowd gathered in Little Village that George Floyd died over $20. She asks out loud how much a life is worth. pic.twitter.com/iDUy6Su2P3— Elvia Malagón (@ElviaMalagon) June 3, 2020
As the crowd grew, organizers told those gathered that Latinos won’t get respect until black people do. “Our lives as brown people is connected to the lives of black people,” one organizer said.
Stephanie Cerda-Ocampo said she joined the march because she thinks Latinos ignore anti-black problems in the community. “We need to stick together and fight against the real issue like white supremacy,” she said.
Crowd chants “George Floyd” as they start marching along 26th Street in Little Village. pic.twitter.com/EZzvdGUCnw— Elvia Malagón (@ElviaMalagon) June 3, 2020
Two CTA buses filled with Chicago police officers followed the crowd, but few officers were on the ground. At one point, marchers chanted that police are the same as ICE.
Jai Simpson from Good Kids Mad City spoke to the crowd and called them “family.” He said it was his first time in Little Village, which is considered the heart of the Mexican immigrant community.
— Elvia Malagón
10:49 a.m. CTA bypassing stops in the Loop
CTA resumed rail and bus service Wednesday morning, but trains and buses will continue to bypass stops in the Loop.
Trains will bypass stations at Jackson Boulevard, Clark and Lake Streets, State and Lake Streets, Lake Street, Grand Avenue, and Chicago Avenue.
Bus routes will also be rerouted in the downtown area, due to local street and bridge closures, officials said.
Passengers are able to see the latest alerts about transit service at transitchicago.com.
10:01 a.m. Mars Cheese Castle, a Wisconsin way station for Chicagoans, takes a stand
Kenosha’s Mars Cheese Castle is a lactose landmark where generations of Illinois residents heading to Wisconsin or coming back home have stocked up on bratwurst, beef jerky and, of course, hundreds of different cheeses.
But in recent days, in what’s believed to be a first for the 73-year-old family-owned business, the iconic cheese shop used its towering outdoor sign just off of Interstate 94 to take a strong and public stand on a social issue. Its giant LED sign blazed with three words:
I CAN’T BREATHE
“I guess it comes back to our grandparents who started the business, Mario and Martha Ventura,” said Michael Ventura, along with his cousins Natalie Broussard and Tyson Wehrmeister the third generation operating the family business. “They valued their fellow human beings and treated them with dignity and respect. They would say: Everybody gets treated like family at Mars. We couldn’t stay silent on this because we value our fellow human beings.”
He said his family was heartbroken by the images of George Floyd, killed last week by a now-fired Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck.
8:15 a.m. Here’s how you can help looted Chicago businesses rebuild
By the time Kareem Matariyeh arrived Sunday night at his family’s liquor store in Marquette Park, flames had already engulfed the business.
Like countless other storefronts in the city, the Quick Stop at 2424 W. 71st St. was targeted by vandals and looters amid the unrest that’s gripped the city and much of the country in the wake of protests over the officer-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Now, as protesters continue to fight against police brutality and broader systemic racism in Chicago and beyond, Matariyeh and others are launching crowdfunding campaigns to repair minority-owned businesses that have been ransacked and destroyed in the fallout.
My Block My Hood My City, a Chicago nonprofit, has set up a small business relief fund, while individuals from communities that have been affected by the looting have also stepped up.
Charles Pickett, of Humboldt Park, is raising $20,000 for minority business owners in his neighborhood, Austin, Humboldt Park and Douglass Park.
Aaliyah Lara set up another GoFundMe campaign that’s already surpassed its $20,000 fundraising goal in just two days. Lara’s “Black and brown business relief fund” will benefit the Flamingo Bar & Grill in the Gold Coast, Express Food Market in Stony Island Park and Quesadilla Monarca in Ashburn.