Members of the Black Lives Matter Chicago chapter issued a statement Monday on the looting and unrest that erupted in the city following what police said was misinformation regarding a police-involved shooting.
The group, which also held a solidarity rally on Monday night for those arrested, criticized the response from city leaders in wake of the unrest.
"In a predictable and unfortunate move, [Mayor Lori Lightfoot] did not take this time to criticize her officers for shooting yet another Black man. Lightfoot instead spent her time attacking 'looters,'" the group's statement read. "The mayor clearly has not learned anything since May, and she would be wise to understand that the people will keep rising up until the CPD is abolished and our Black communities are fully invested in."
The statement goes on to say that "Black lives are and always will be more important than downtown corporations."
"These corporations have “looted” more from our communities than a few protesters ever could, yet the Mayor reserves her anger for the latter," the statement reads.
The group called for "an outlet for the people to exert control over the policing of their community."
"Over the past few months, too many people — disproportionately Black and Brown — have lost their jobs, lost their income, lost their homes, and lost their lives as the city has done nothing and the Chicago elite have profited," the statement reads. "When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not 'our' city and has never been meant for us. The mayor cannot expect people to play by her rules as she refuses to treat them with basic dignity. These protests can only end when the safety and wellbeing of our communities is finally prioritized."
The group held a rally at the South Loop police station Monday evening where organizers say individuals were being held in custody.
“I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” Ariel Atkins, a BLM organizer, said. “That makes sure that person has clothes.”
Chicago police believe the looting began after officers shot a man in the city’s Englewood neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. Authorities say the man, identified as 20-year-old Latrell Allen, had a gun and fired at police before they returned fire, striking and wounding him.
Allen now faces attempted murder charges after the incident.
“This person fired shots at our officers,” CPD Superintendent David Brown said. “Officers returned fire and struck the individual.”
BLM organizers are criticizing the police narrative surrounding the shooting, pointing out that none of the officers involved in the shooting had body cameras.
“Police say a lot of things,” Atkins said.
Investigators confirmed the lack of body cameras Monday, and are asking the public for help in tracking down witness video of the incident.