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.
The event began with a caravan procession of cars south on King Drive, west on 35th Street — until they met a police roadblock near the Chicago Police Department headquarters — and north on Indiana Avenue.
The caravan stretched for more than half a mile, with cars packed bumper-to-bumper, at its peak.
After pedestrian protesters kneeled in the park, the alliance’s speakers called for a Civilian Police Accountability Council, which would be able to hire and fire the CPD superintendent, preside over police misconduct cases and — unlike the current Civilian Office of Police Accountability — be composed of elected members.
Speakers also called out Mayor Lori Lightfoot for what they described as insufficient responses to their reform demands, prompting the crowd to chant “one-term mayor.”
Guillory said the large and fervent turnout exemplifies the people’s power to force change in society.
“There’s nothing that can stop us when we’re in our numbers and we’re organized and we’re unified in our voice,” he said. “Since we make things run, we can shut things down, and we’ve proven that the last week. We will do that again and again for as long as we need to until we get...community control of the police.”