Over a thousand people gathered and marched in Logan Square April 16, a day after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) released body camera footage that showed a Chicago police officer shooting and killing 13-year-old Adam Toledo March 29 after he put his hands up.
A crowd of a few hundred began to gather in Logan Square Park (3150 W. Logan Blvd.) at 5:30 p.m. with speakers setting up a stage on the Illinois Centennial Monument.
“We are out here because we watched a child gunned down by the damn Chicago police,” said Mark Clements, a survivor of police violence, said to the crowd. “We’re showing [Chicago Mayor] Lori Lightfoot no more, we’re showing the governor [J.B. Pritzker] no more, we’re showing [President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners] Toni Preckwinkle no more and we’re showing the criminal justice system no more.”
Several other organizers spoke at the monument, though the focus quickly shifted to a specific set of speakers — family members of those killed by police officers. In addition to the family of Adam Toledo, relatives of Marc Anthony Nevarez and Anthony Alvarez — who both were killed by Chicago police — stood on stage.
“Enough is enough,” Nevarez’s mother said to the crowd. “There’s no rhyme or reason why I should be going to the cemetery every day. Why I won’t have grandkids. … Give all these kids a chance to live, to make the wrong right. Don’t be the jury and judge before they even get arrested.”
By the time the group was leaving the square to march down North Milwaukee Avenue about an hour later, the crowd had amassed at least 1,500 participants.
Once the demonstrators reached the intersection of North Milwaukee, West Diversey and North Kimball Avenues, they stopped, sitting and kneeling in a circle that blocked the intersection. In the center, a set of younger speakers addressed the crowd about the three killed by police — Toledo, Nevarez and Alvarez — that the protest set out to honor.
The group then continued further on North Milwaukee Avenue until they turned down North Central Park Avenue and headed toward Lightfoot’s house on West Wrightwood Avenue. At the intersection of these two streets, protesters stood off with police who had formed a line with their bikes — behind them stood more officers wearing helmets and holding batons.
After a tense few minutes, the crowd rerouted in several directions, ultimately meeting back up at West Altgeld Street and North Hamlin Avenue. The demonstrators then stopped to take a knee at West Fullerton Avenue and North Hamlin Avenue to announce they were heading back to Logan Square Park to end the protest, per the request of the families that had helmed the stage before.
Once the protest was officially dispersed and groups started heading home, confrontations between demonstrators and the police began. During this, two arrests were made on the 2600 block of North Kedzie Avenue, according to the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
One arrestee was a 20-year-old man who was put into custody for being part of a “large crowd observed pushing and shoving uniformed Chicago police officers,” CPD News Affairs Officer Michael Carroll told The Phoenix in an email.
The other arrestee, an 18-year-old man, was arrested for reportedly spitting on an officer while riding his bike past a police vehicle with an open window, according to CPD.
While police recommended charges of felony aggravated battery to a police officer, these were denied by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office who opted to instead charge him with misdemeanor battery, saying the evidence didn’t meet their “burden of proof,” a Cook County State’s Attorney official told The Phoenix in an email.
Black Lives Matter Chicago, a group that helped free the two arrestees, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Carter Alvarado, a junior at Loyola, was at the protest with the United Workers Party of Chicago and witnessed the clash between protesters and the police.
“From what I saw, it was just a complete act of unjustified police violence against protesters protesting police violence,” Alvarado said. “They just started beating and arresting one person and people went over to try and stop it.”
Alvarado said this protest and the killing of Toledo were tangentially tied to the demands of students and groups on Loyola’s campus — such as Our Streets LUC — that have demanded the university cut ties with CPD.
These ties are often referred to as the university’s 25 percent discount on tuition to members of CPD — which a student petition called on the university to end last June — and CPD policing on campus.
“This isn’t completely separated from Loyola,” Alvarado said. “There’s a need to fight back against this police violence on the Loyola campus.”
Loyola’s Campus Safety officers — “sworn officers” with the same training and certifications as CPD officers — are in charge of policing campus for Loyola-related issues whereas CPD works on campus if there are reports of serious crimes or incidents.