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Mass protests planned for Friday in Chicago over police killing


Protesters plan to continue mass rallies in Chicago, Illinois, on Friday to express their outrage over the brutal killing of an African-American teenager by a white police officer last year.

Chicago, the third largest US city, has been the scene of large protests since Tuesday, when a graphic video of the fatal shooting was made public by court order.

The police dashcam video shows 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times for 15 seconds by officer Jason Van Dyke in October of 2014.

Demonstrators plan to march through the city’s most famous retail district to disrupt Black Friday shopping, regarded as the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the US.

“This is going to give an opportunity for all of Chicago to come out, demonstrate their outrage and their anger in a nonviolent way, (and) interrupt the economic engine of Black Friday,” said the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest and prominent local activist.

Demonstrators protest in the middle of Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile shopping district on November 25. (AFP photo)
Van Dyke, 37, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, the same day the video was released. He has been ordered held without bond and faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

The case marks the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty killing in almost 35 years.

Prosecutors decided to charge Van Dyke because he wasn’t facing an immediate threat from McDonald, and because he continued to fire at the teen as he lay on the ground after being shot.

The Chicago demonstrations come amid heightened tensions over several high-profile killings of unarmed African Americans by white police officers in the last two years, which have triggered large-scale protests across the country.

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