By Mark Weyermuller -
For the second year in a row, a group of protesters tried to shut down stores on Michigan Avenue on the busiest shopping day of the year. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, which traditionally starts the Christmas shopping season. Last year the protest was much larger, with a focus on the Laquan McDonald shooting by a Chicago police officer captured on dash cam video.
The main sponsor of this protest was CPAC - the Civilian Police Accountability Council. The group is not connected with the other more well-known CPAC - the Conservative Political Action Conference. It appears there are just not enough acronyms in the world as the two groups are almost complete opposites.
This year's Black Friday protest demanded an elected board to control the police, rather then elected government officials to control the police. Much of the rage among the protesters is about police-involved shootings, yet little to no rage over other violence in the community.
There are multiple shootings and murders of mostly young black men on a daily basis in Chicago with little to no news coverage - called "black on black" crime by many.
There were a variety of other organized groups involved, including Black Lives Matter and Socialists of America. I even spotted several people from Planned Parenthood passing out literature. They tend to always be on Michigan Avenue, along with PETA, Greenpeace, and similar Leftist groups.
This protest started around 10:00 A.M. with speeches at the historic Water Tower on Michigan Avenue.
Initially I counted about 250 people, but as time went on the protesters dropped off. In addition were at least 250 Chicago police officers, many on bikes, and 250 media people, including at least three news helicopters. The group headed north on Michigan Avenue, stopping to block doors of stores, not as a simple boycott but more as attempting to block access to the stores by locking arms. However, police cleared paths for shoppers to enter and exit.
I saw one arrest, with three others reported by various sources. In addition, the protesters had a team of lawyers watching every move the police made. The group chanted, "If we don't get it, shut it down."
Again, this was related to a elected police board with nothing to do with Donald Trump.
The main sign at the protest appeared to be professionally printed. It said, "CPAC NOW, STOP TRUMP, BOYCOTT BLACK FRIDAY." People were asking, "What's Trump got to do with it?"
The irony is their argument appears with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who happens to be a Democrat. They may also may have issues with another Democrat, President Barack Obama. Some blame Obama for much of the discontent over police for his line several years ago in the Professor Gates incident, in which, they said, "the police acted stupidly."
There continues to be growing support in the "Blue Lives Matter" movement as most prefer law and order, not anarchy.
After about three hours the group went back to the Water Tower for final speeches. I interviewed a bunch of shoppers, almost all from suburbs or out of town. They seem undisturbed by the protest and many didn't even notice it, as there were thousands of people on Michigan Avenue.
Shopping was down by many published reports which some blame to online internet sales with Cyber Monday coming up. Others feel the concept of Black Friday has run its course or even peaked as people find sales all year around.
Most people agree that people are entitled to free speech and welcome a "peaceful" protest. Yet at issue is these protests are not peaceful as we saw back in March when the Trump rally was disrupted by what some are calling "paid" protesters. They were inciting violence.
There are calls to investigate if the protesters are being paid. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and her husband have been allegedly connected with this as reported in Illinois Review. There are calls for a FBI investigation.
Also at issue is if the protesters are violating other people's civil rights with threats of violence. The blocking of streets is surely a violation of multiple laws yet the police have been very patient in letting these protesters disrupt commerce and create massive traffic problems. Also at issue are the millions of dollars it costs in police protection for the city on these almost daily protests. The police resources are directed away from high crime area to monitor these protests.
Stay tuned for the next protest as Chicago gets its fair share. Reminder: there are just 26 days Christmas and 51 days till President Donald Trump becomes president. Maybe everything will be fine then.
Of course, I'm kidding!
Mark Weyermuller is a small business person, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist and regular contributor to Illinois Review. Mark can be heard weekly on the radio in a "man on the street segment" at 10:31pm as a regular guest on the Stephanie Trussell Show heard Sunday nights 9pm-midnight on WLS 890-AM.