Chicago, IL – The activist group that shut down Michigan Avenue on Christmas Eve of 2015 has called for the resignation of the Chicago police superintendent and the mayor, and promised to cause massive unrest across the entire city if their demands are not met.
The Reverend Gregory Livingston, president of the Coalition For A New Chicago, called a press conference on Monday morning and announced a list of demands in the wake of Saturday’s officer-involved shooting that left an armed suspect dead.
“We are planning a major act of civil disobedience in the Chicago business district because Chicago’s unbridled violence will not end unless and until we deal with the corruption that breeds it,” Livingston said.
The reverend then went out to list out demands which he said needed to be met or his organization would lead an act of civil disobedience in the business district as part of an effort to “redistribute the pain” because “sometimes pain and discomfort is the only thing that will make people aware of what other people are going through.”
“We have three demands. Demand No. 1: We are demanding the resignation of Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson because his hiring exemplifies Chicago’s corruption,” Livingston announced.
“Demand No. 2: We are demanding, again, the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He will never be the people’s mayor. He is the downtown mayor who has destabilized our neighborhoods and delivered on empty promises. He is a Washington, DC power broker who needs to go back to DC,” Livingston said.
“And lastly, demand number 3. We must summit with our elected officials, business people, and community leaders to undo Mayor Emanuel’s corrupt practices by constructing a plan for the fair and equitable reallocation of resources, especially in Chicago’s most challenged neighborhoods,” he said.
Livingston called Supt. Johnson the mayor’s political puppet, and said “rogue cops feel emboldened” because they know that management won’t “check them” on things.
“And we think it’s very dangerous and it’s shown itself to be very dangerous because in Rialmo, Antonio LeGrier had a baseball bat, and the young man Saturday had a gun, but they both were killed. There has to be some kind of just ground here,” he said.
He said that he needed to see more bodycam footage from different angles to make a judgement on Saturday’s shooting, despite the fact the initial video released clearly showed 37-year-old Harith Augustus was drawing a gun on police when he was killed.
“The camera angle could make the difference between the truth and a lie,” the reverend said.
Livingston suggested that even if Augustus was drawing a gun on police, it may still be their fault.
“You know one of the things we deal with on a historical basis is the relationship between black men and the police department – law enforcement – one of the things that I saw was when they approached him, he was offended by the way that they approached him and reached for him,” the reverend said.
He said he believed that Augustus would still be alive had he cooperated with officers when they stopped him.
Livingston refused to answer reporters’ questions about details of the timing and the nature of the planned protest.
“If you have to ask for permission, it’s not civil disobedience… We find it to be very important because there are various powers that would try to sabotage the effort so we have to do this in such a way that we have the greatest impact for the city and the community,” he said. Then he said it would happen no later than early August.
Livingston went on to say that Chicago needed a police superintendent who would stand up to the Fraternal Order of Police when “rogue cops” committed “cowboy acts.”
Supt. Johnson called for people to consider the facts, not emotions, before reacting to the shooting of Augustus during his own press conference on Sunday evening. That’s when the superintendent released the bodycam footage that showed Augustus drawing his gun.