In anticipation of the court ordered release of the police video of the killing of another black man, this time Laquan McDonald, Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Chicago’s police chief stood with community leaders during a press conference to discuss the situation. They acknowledged that the public would be upset by what they will see, and acknowledged the right of people to protest, but urged protestors to be peaceful. The police chief emphasized that criminal acts would not be tolerated, which is sometimes a point of contention, with civil disobedience perhaps seen as a criminal act. This may come into play as there are indications Black Lives Matter activists may block traffic downtown to make an economic impact during so called Black Friday.
But I was impressed with both officials speaking of how it was up to the community to decide what happens next, the choices being violence and confrontation versus finding ways to use this opportunity to find ways to improve relations between the police and the community.
This morning of the day following the press conference and release of the video, reports from Chicago indicate overnight hundreds did protest peacefully with few incidents. Protests are anticipated to continue, no one knowing how that will go. Hopefully the protests will continue to be peaceful, and the police professional, and progress will continue to be made in police/community relations.