Five people were arrested when Chicagoans took part in a nationwide anti-police brutality protest that snaked through downtown Chicago Tuesday.
Police arrested one adult male, two adult females along with the two female juveniles who are students from Kenwood High School on the city's South Side. Each of them were arrested for blocking traffic and misdemeanor charges are pending.
Chicago police news affairs would not provide further details on those arrested, including the ages or names of the two juveniles. The adults were discharged on I-bonds and the two juveniles have also been released from police custody.
A heavy police bike presence thwarted attempts by the nearly 300 protesters to block evening rush hour traffic. During the five-hour demonstration, police used their bikes to cordon off protesters at street corners when the light was not in their favor to cross.
The effort was to prevent protesters from shutting down major streets, including Lake Shore Drive. Last December, protesters shut down several downtown streets as well as the Drive after the U.S. Justice Department opted against indicting a white New York City police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed African-American male.
At Tuesday's protest, police and protesters became confrontational at several intersections, including at Madison and Clinton Aves. where a pushing match ended in the arrest of two protesters. Police helicopters could be seen overhead.
The sounds of whistles along with chants of "No justice, No peace, No more racist police," and "Every city, every town has its own Michael Brown. Shut it down," culminated in a die-in in front of WLS-TV Channel 7 studios at 190 N. State.
Genesis Easton, one of the arrested Kenwood students, attended the event to protest the brutal beating of Kenwood alumni Martese Johnson, who was left bloodied by police in Virginia on St. Patrick's Day. PI interviewed the freshman along with two of her schoolmates before the march stepped off at the Daley Center.
She said she was "fed up" with police killing young black youth.
"The police are continually killing black children and nothing's happening. So today we are going to march. I am going to march for my black people," Easton said.
Several speakers including Jon Burge torture survivor Mark Clements and activists from North Chicago where Darrin Hanna was allegedly beaten to death by a police officer in 2011, spoke at the demonstration. The event was part of a national day of action against fatal police shootings of unarmed black men. Protests took place in New York City, downtown Los Angeles and Oakland, CA.
The high-profile shooting deaths of Walter Scott, who died at the hands of a white, North Charleston police officer, and Eric Harris, who was killed by a Tulsa volunteer reserve officer, reignited debates about the use of excessive force by law enforcement and the demand for police body cameras.
Throughout the demonstration, protesters carried a banner displaying the photos and names of 48 individuals who were reportedly slain by police in recent years. Rekia Boyd, who was allegedly killed by an off-duty Chicago cop, was among the list of the deceased.
Here's more from the protest:
Activist Grant Newburger with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, which helped organize the rally, pointed to the "stolen lives banner" as a reason for people taking to the streets in protest on Tuesday.
"The point is the faces on the banner and putting an end to the daily terror (in) America where black people can't walk in the street without fearing for their very lives," he said. "This has to end, and we are fighting across the country to end it now. We say indict, convict and send these killer cops to jail."
That's exactly what the relatives of Darius Pinex want. Pinex, 27, was shot and killed by two Chicago police officers during a traffic stop in 2011. A federal jury found no fault with officers Raoul Mosqueda and Gildardo Sierra in a wrongful death suit. The two officers pulled Pinex's car over because it allegedly matched a description of a vehicle involved in an earlier shooting.
"He needs to be behind bars with all the other criminals" said Gloria Pinex of Officer Sierra. "A lot of people are saying that he is not responsible for my son's murder ... but he is the one that started shooting for no reason."
Gloria Pinex participated in the march to seek justice for all the sons killed by police whether in Chicago, New York or Zion, Illinois. Earlier this month a Zion police officer fatally shot Justus Howell, 17, in the back as he allegedly attempted to flee.
"Enough is enough.... I got other boys I'm trying to raise and I really want them to make it. I believe that this could be the next [Pres.] Obama," Pinex said pointing to her 15-year-old son Trevon Lawrence.
Trevon, who was 11-years-old when his brother was killed, said the death really affected him.
"It hurt me. It hurt me in many ways," Lawrence said. "I'm just out here to make sure it doesn't happen to nobody else."
Holy Trinity High School student Emily Ramirez, 15, made the trek from her Wicker Park school to take part in the multi-racial and multi-generational protest. The freshman called police brutality unfair and inhumane. Ramirez said she has had family members arrested because they are Latino. She believes police target Latinos under the pretext that they might be undocumented.
"Police are here to protect and serve us and they are not here to make us feel afraid of who we are and what we do," Ramirez said. "If they are going to hurt us, we shouldn't necessarily fight back. But if we are going to fight back, at least protest and speak up [because] this is happening everywhere and everybody needs to know."
Chicago Public School teacher Adam Heenan was glad this call for justice and an end to police brutality is a youth-led movement.
"Young people, particularly in communities of color, are most devastated by austerity policies that ultimately -- whether the intention is there or not -- turn out to be racist," he said.
School closings, the school-to-prison pipeline and the militarization of police are the new Jim Crow, Heenan said, adding that he hopes these direct actions will lead to policy changes.
Top image courtesy of Stop Mass Incarceration Network, All others: LaRisa Lynch/Progress Illinois