chicago protests

Chicago Protests: Juneteenth Celebrations, Pritzker Plans to Make State Holiday

Here are the latest on protests, demonstrations and fallout happening across the Chicago area today

Juneteenth celebrations and services took place across Chicago Friday, calling for an end to systemic racism on the annual day commemorating the end of the slavery in the U.S.

As Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued all Illinois flags be lowered June 19 to recognize Juneteenth, he also declared he plans to work with the General Assembly to make the day a state holiday.

Here are the latest on protests, demonstrations and fallout happening across the Chicago area today:

Hundreds Take Part in Chicago Juneteenth Celebration March

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, is an annual celebration marking the end of the slavery in the U.S. The holiday commemorates a specific date — June 19, 1865, the day many enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed.

Demonstrators in Chicago gathered at 12 p.m. at Roosevelt and Columbus and marched north on Columbus to Grant Park.

Honoring the end of slavery, thousands gathered in downtown Chicago on Friday for a march to celebrate Juneteenth. NBC 5's Michelle Relerford reports on how the celebration turned into a call for action.

Several elected officials like Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin were in attendance.

Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Community Church in Bronzeville says the movement has five pillars: systemic racism, housing, economic development, physical and mental health as well as pushing for legislation aimed at these goals.

The march marked "the beginning of a citywide movement designed to unite the faith community and residents of this great city in a common cause: the elimination of systemic racism, and so much more," Harris said in a statement.

Illinois Gov. Pritzker Says He Plans to Make Juneteenth a State Holiday

Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to make Juneteenth a state holiday in Illinois, he announced Friday.

“This Juneteenth comes as hundreds of thousands of protestors across the nation and across Illinois, from Rockford to East St. Louis to Chicago to Springfield to Champaign to Anna and dozens of towns in between, have taken to the streets to call for justice and change – and through protest and policy, we’re going to make that change. From genuine criminal justice reform to a fundamentally reimagined vision of policing to sustained investment in Black communities, we will build an Illinois that prioritizes justice, equity and opportunity for all our people,” Pritzker said in a statement. “I encourage all Illinoisans to take today to reflect on our history, our future and the actions we can take, individually and collectively as a state, to truly build ourselves into the equitable nation of our ideals – a land of freedom and opportunity for all.”

His office said Pritzker "will work with the General Assembly to pass a law commemorating Juneteenth as an official state holiday for years to come."

Pritzker has already ordered flags be lowered in Illinois on June 19, also known as Juneteenth.

Read more of the governor's words here.

Illinois Man Charged With Hate Crime During Iowa Protests

An Illinois man accused of writing “KKK" on a black woman's car during protests in Iowa has been charged with a hate crime.

Gary Eugene Shelton, 54, was arrested Wednesday in Bloomington, Illinois, in connection with the incident earlier this month in Waterloo, Iowa, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

He remains jailed facing extradition to Iowa to face charges of second-degree criminal mischief under the state's hate crime statutes. Bond was set at $75,000.

The victim reported someone wrote KKK with a waxy substance on her car, causing damage estimated at more than $1,500. The incident happened sometime late June 4 or early June 5 at a hotel in Waterloo.

Police said Shelton was traveling through Waterloo for work at the time, and investigators used video and other evidence to link him to the damage.

Chicago Police Missed More Than 70% of Deadlines in First Year of Consent Decree, Report Says

A new report from the independent monitor overseeing the federal consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department shows that the city has missed the majority of deadlines issued on those reforms in its first year under the court-ordered agreement.

The report, made public late Thursday, shows the city missed 89 deadlines and met just 35 in the first year of the decree - failing to meet more than 70% of those deadlines. The report was published by independent monitor Maggie Hickey, who was appointed by a federal judge to oversee the sweeping changes and report back to a judge on whether the city was fulfilling its obligation.

The aim of the consent decree is to improve reforms on training, discipline and supervision within the department. It was put in place following a lawsuit from then-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who sued the city to enact reforms following a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Justice that found a history of civil rights violations by officers.

One Chicago alderman is leading the push to make Juneteenth a national holiday in Chicago. NBC 5's Christian Farr has her story.

That Justice Department report was the culmination of a years-long investigation sparked by the 2015 release of dashcam video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times the year before. Van Dyke was later charged and convicted of second-degree murder.

Among the items in Thursday's report with missed deadlines were a review of tactics and training during foot pursuits leading to uses of force, and a requirement to put in place guidance for officers to interact with members of religious communities.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said in a joint statement saying that the report "illustrates how the level of transformational change and reform that we are working towards cannot be achieved overnight.

Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Affirms Chicago Police Misconduct Records Should Not Be Destroyed

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of upholding the City of Chicago’s request to preserve all police misconduct records, a decision widely watched by police reform advocates amid protests against police abuses.

The legal challenge brought by the Chicago Chapter of Fraternal Order of Police, which represents roughly 12,000 Chicago officers, is considered to be a setback for the union.

The 6-to-1 ruling dealt with a single legal issue about whether the City of Chicago had a contractual requirement with the Chicago Police Union to destroy misconduct records older than five years.

More details here.

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