Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Logan Square Monument holding signs demanding justice for 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer in Little Village late last month.
“You have allowed police officers to traumatize us,” Mark Clements, a survivor of police violence, told the crowd.
“We are out here because we watched a child gunned down by the Chicago police. Where’s the integrity?” Clements said.
“I want this whole park to rock,” Clements shouted. “We’re showing Lori Lightfoot: No more. We showing the governor: No more. We showing Toni Preckwinkle: No more!”
Preckwinkle was at the event, but did not address the crowd.
Many speakers became emotional, crying as they called for justice for Adam and others killed by police.
“Adam, we love you, we will not stop until there is justice for you!” The crowd shouted in unison.
From other speakers there also were demands for rent control, better jobs and funding for youth-driven social programs. To accomplish this, some organizers said, was to defund the Chicago Police Department and rerouting those funds to socials safety net.
After a 90-minute rally in the park, the crowd began marching north on Milwaukee Avenue, filling the road, waving signs and chanting. Some also protested the fatal shooting by police of Anthony Alvarez, 22, killed about two days after Adam.
“No justice, no peace, abolish the police!” some yelled, as diners in the popular business district looked on through restaurant windows.
“They killed a 13-year-old kid with his hands up,” said Nate Brandford, 20, a student at the University of Chicago. “They’ve been killing us for a while now, so I figured I’d come to yet another protest to scream yet another name.”
Andrea Popoca, 26, didn’t expect the protest to turn out to be as big as it did, but he was pleased at the turnout.
“We’re here to show our support for the community in this unjustified murder,” Popoca said holding a sign with Adam’s name on it. “That video was sickening and we were mortified when we saw it.”
Popoca said the video showed a “trigger happy” officer who needs to be fired and charged.
“This keeps happening and it simply needs to stop,” she added.
The march through Logan Square twisted and turned through the Northwest Side neighborhood as TV helicopters flew above, monitoring the protest. Police blocked intersections, allowing the peaceful demonstration to move around.
Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.
Sam Kelly is a CST Wire reporter.