Protesters storm Chicago City Hall over police killings
Protesters in the US State of Illinois have stormed the Chicago City Hall to once again condemn the recent police killings of civilians and demand the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The Thursday protest against the city’s police force came after a series of fatal police shootings.
Protesters rallied outside Emanuel’s office and staged several die-in protests on the ground floor of the building.
Chicago has been gripped by protests in recent months following a string of fatal shootings by police officers, the most recent of which took place on December 26 when a Chicago police officer shot and killed 19-year-old student Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones, a mother of five.
On Wednesday, Emanuel announced a series of police training reforms that will see an increase in the number of tasers provided to police officers in the city.
“Our police officers have a very difficult and dangerous job. They put their lives on the line so the rest of us can be safe. And like all of us, they are human and they make mistakes,” he said. “Our job is to reduce the chances of mistakes,” he said.
Earlier in December, Chicago’s mayor also announced the resignations of the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Gary McCarthy, and the head of the Independent Police Review Authority, Scott Ando, but protesters are demanding that the mayor also step down from office.
The Chicago Police Department has come under intense criticism since the release last month of graphic footage of the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
The video shows Officer Jason Van Dyke firing at McDonald 16 times for at least 15 seconds, even after the black teen falls to the ground. Van Dyke, however, pleaded not guilty at a court on Tuesday.
Chicago police have long been under fire over what critics describe as a police culture of “shoot first and ask questions later.”
Fatal shootings and other forms of violence by the US police against people of color have sparked mass protests across the country over the past two years.