Mag Mile stores still reeling from Black Friday protests

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Sales, profits drop at several retailers’

They came by hundreds, linking arms and blocking customers from entering high-end stores along The Magnificent Mile during Black Friday, where they peppered the air with a unified chant of “1, 2, 3…16 shots” referring to Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke who emptied his gun into the body of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

According to news reports, sales were down 25 to 50 percent below projections at some stores on Michigan Avenue. Managers at Aldo’s, Men’s Warehouse and Stuart Weitzman shoe store reported a drop in sales on Black Friday.

With police shutting down streets and diverting traffic, the very diverse coalition, both racial and age, marched down Michigan Avenue in chilly, damp weather to the Water Tower, forming a human chain which prevented shoppers from entering the stores. Some businesses even locked their doors…their workers peered out of the windows.

Normally bustling with shoppers after Thanksgiving, Friday’s Magnificent Mile looked deserted but filled at checkpoints with police who used their bikes to block several intersections including the Michigan Avenue bridge.

Spotted marching with Saint Sabina members was Father Michael L. Pfleger who said, “Today, groups from all over Chicago joined forces to shut down Michigan Avenue. They were all ages and all races led by the youth…seeking to send a message loud and clear… we’re tired, angry and fed up with the violence against our young people.”

The deafening roar of the protesters shouting,“16-shots” could be heard for several blocks as protesters pierced the air with their signs calling for justice in the death of McDonald and an end to the “cover-up” they say have been going on for the last 14-months including the payout by the city of $5 million to the mother of McDonald just after the mayoral election was held and the withholding of the video which showed Van Dyke shooting the teen mostly in the back.

Marching through the rain was Jaquie Algee, vice president/director of External Relations for SEIU Healthcare. “We’re here because of 16-shots that killed one of our young sons unnecessarily and because of the cover-up by our elected officials. We won’t tolerate it. We won’t have it. We’re here to stand with our community to say justice must be served,” she said.

“The individuals who are responsible, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Police. Supt. Garry McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel need to ‘fess up, own up and get out because they are not doing the right thing for our community.” The protesters again began shout- ing “1,2,3…16 shots…Hey, hey, ho, ho, Rahm Emanuel’s got to go….”

Under cloudy skies, Lakesia Collins, president of the Young Millennials program at SEIU’s Future Partners of Chicago, said, “It’s time for our mayor, our Cook County State’s Attorney and McCarthy to take responsibility for what they tried to hide.”

Asked her opinion of the shooting of McDonald, Collins said, “It was uncalled for. To me, it was a hate crime. They shot this man when he was dead. That was a hate crime.”

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