Black Lives Matter Denounces Arrests of Looters, Calls for Abolishing the Police

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
August 11, 2020Updated: August 11, 2020

A Black Lives Matter rally in Chicago on Monday denounced Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the police for cracking down on some of the hundreds of people who looted the city over the weekend, while calling for abolishing the police.

Organizers said they don’t believe the official story about what transpired on Sunday during a police interaction. Officials said that officers received a report of a man with a gun and, after responding and trying to approach the man, he fled. While moving away from officers, the 20-year-old produced a gun and opened fire, prompting return fire.

The man was identified as Latrell Allen. He is in custody and was charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of possessing or carrying a concealed weapon.

Police officers “chased and shot someone multiple times. They put out a narrative that this person shot at them. I’m not [expletive] buying it. Where’s the [expletive] bodycam?” a Black Lives Matter organizer, Ariel Atkins, told a crowd next to a police station in the South Loop neighborhood in footage published by the movement’s Chicago chapter.

The protester targeted Lightfoot, a Democrat, who said there were no excuses for the widespread looting and destruction caused by rioters in the city Sunday night following the shooting.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference in Chicago on Nov. 7, 2019. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

“We are in a pandemic. People are about to face eviction in numbers that we have never seen before. People don’t have a job. Why is Lightfoot so stressed about some buildings when people are dying?” the protester said.

She referred to the crimes as people deciding “to take the power back.”

“I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci’s or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes,” Atkins said.

“That’s a reparation. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.”

Lightfoot told reporters earlier Monday that the looters were not poor.

“This was not legitimate, First Amendment protected speech. These were not poor people engaged in petty theft to feed themselves and their families. This was straight up felony criminal conduct,” she said.

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Police officers detain a man who was found inside of a Best Buy store in Chicago on Aug. 10, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In a written statement, Black Lives Matter Chicago said many people have lost their jobs in recent months, including minorities.

“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 group said.

Chicago residents do not need police to keep them safe, protesters asserted at the rally.

“Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe,” the crowd chanted.

“[Expletive] these police. Today. Tomorrow. ‘Till they’re [expletive] abolished,” Atkins said.

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A man sweeps up outside Paul Young Fine Jewelers after looting broke out in the Loop and surrounding neighborhoods overnight in Chicago, Aug. 10, 2020. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia /Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

“You cannot reform what has always, always been rotten,” she also said, claiming the “very foundation” of the police is “violence and racism.”

In an advertisement for the event, Black Lives Matter Chicago said they are demanding “community control” of the police department.

Dozens of businesses, including corporations and mom-and-pop stores, were struck during the mayhem late Sunday into Monday morning.

People streamed into downtown in “car caravans,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a press conference.

“This was not an organized protest. Rather, this was an incident of pure criminality. This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our city,” he said.

“These individuals engaged in what can only be described as brazen and extensive criminal looting and destruction,” Lightfoot added.