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Black Lives Matter to Lightfoot: Unrest won’t end until ‘the safety and well-being of our communities is finally prioritized’

“When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not ‘our’ city and has never been meant for us,” the group said in a statement.

Protesters rally Monday night outside the Chicago Police Department’s District 1 Station demanding the release of individuals incarcerated after looting that day, Aug. 10, 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Black Lives Matter Chicago warned Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday that the renewed civil unrest that’s gripped the city throughout the summer won’t end until “the safety and well-being of our communities is finally prioritized.”

“The mayor clearly has not learned anything since May, and she would be wise to understand that the people will keep rising up until the [Chicago Police Department] is abolished and our Black communities are fully invested in,” the group said in a statement. Later Monday, about 200 protesters gathered outside a police station in the South Loop to voice their frustrations.

The stark warning and protests came after police wounded a 20-year-old man during a shootout Sunday afternoon in Englewood, leading to an hours-long standoff between officers and residents that at times grew violent. While police reported that the man fired at officers first, the activists questioned the official police narrative and noted that his shooting wasn’t captured on officers’ body-worn cameras.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the independent agency tasked with investigating police shootings, said the officers involved in the shooting didn’t have body cameras. But investigators are reviewing POD camera footage that captured “the pursuit of a man matching the description of the person sought to be in possession of a firearm,” COPA said.

The man who was shot, Latrell Allen, was charged Monday with two counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon, police said.

On Monday morning, CPD Supt. David Brown said the shooting led to a wave of overnight looting downtown and on the Near North Side that resulted in two people being shot, over 100 arrests and 13 injuries to officers. Though Brown characterized the looting as “pure criminality,” Black Lives Matter Chicago said those involved were actually protesting.

“Over the past few months, too many people — disproportionately Black and Brown — have lost their jobs, lost their income, lost their homes, and lost their lives as the city has done nothing and the Chicago elite have profited,” the group’s statement reads. “When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not ‘our’ city and has never been meant for us.”

Protesters held a sign at a Black Lives Matter Chicago demonstration Monday night.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

At the demonstration later Monday, protesters held a sign that read, “Our futures have been looted from us ... loot back.”

Ariel Atkins, 29, of the North Side, said looters should take “anything they want to take” as “reparations” as about dozens of officers watched.

“I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci, or a Macy’s, or a Nike, because that makes sure that that person eats, that makes sure that that person has clothes, that makes sure that that person can make some kind of money because this city obviously doesn’t care about them,” Atkins said.

Atkins also refused to believe the police version of the shooting Sunday in the 5700 block of South Racine.

“Police lie,” Atkins said.

After the shooting Sunday, residents took to the streets and clashed with officers. CPD Deputy Chief Yolanda Talley told reporters that the “hostile” crowd was responding to inaccurate reports, including that officers had gunned down a “young person.”

Talley said an officer was maced and another suffered a shoulder injury during the melee, which resulted in two arrests. A brick was also thrown through the window of a police vehicle, she said.

But activists faulted police officials for “sending in hundreds of officers with assault rifles, tear gas, and batons.”

“These cops intimidated and beat people for nothing more than being at the scene of CPD’s violence,” Black Lives Matter Chicago said in the statement. “Yesterday, Chicago police continually proved that they do not keep us safe — they only cause violence, and escalation after the fact.”

Protesters rally Monday night outside the Chicago Police Department’s District 1 Station demanding the release of individuals incarcerated after looting that day, Aug. 10, 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

As the dust settled Sunday evening, Allen’s brother offered his own account of the events that led to the shooting.

Earl Allen, 19, said he and his brother were hanging out at Moran Park, at the intersection of 57th Street and Racine, when they got into a “little altercation” and left. As the brothers walked off with a group of people, Earl Allen said someone made a comment to officers in a police vehicle that prompted a pursuit.

After the group dispersed, Earl Allen said he returned to the area, where they live. That’s when he heard roughly eight or nine gunshots ring out.

“I’m hearing it. I’m like, ‘Oh no, no, no, no. They’re shooting. I hope they ain’t just shoot my brother,’” said Earl Allen, who did not see the shooting.

A short time later, Earl Allen’s wounded brother emerged in a grassy clearing and ran into their home. Fire officials confirmed the victim of the shooting was picked up at the home.

Shown a photo of the gun officers reportedly recovered, Earl Allen denied that it belonged to his brother.

“My brother ain’t fired at no police,” Earl Allen claimed.

He said run-ins with the cops aren’t uncommon in his neighborhood: “They harass us every day.”