Protests in Chicago after police kill 16-year-old boy

By George Gallanis
15 April 2016

On Monday, 16 year old Pierre Loury was shot in the chest in the Homan Square neighborhood of Chicago by a police officer and died that night from his wounds.

Loury was on foot fleeing from a car that police officers had pulled over after it allegedly matched the description of a vehicle involved in an earlier shooting. However, on Tuesday the Chicago Police Department (CPD) indicated Loury was most likely not involved in the assumed shooting but that he may have been involved in another. The driver of the car was not apprehended and is still wanted by the police.

While an initial police account indicated that Loury had pointed a gun at the officer who shot him recent revelations indicate this to be false.

A witness who stated she had seen the shooting, and who wished to remain anonymous out of fear for backlash from the CPD, told the Chicago Tribune, "They shot him in the air. His pants leg got caught on the fence and he hit the ground. If he hadn't gotten shot, he would have cleared the fence."

The woman was preparing dinner as she heard someone yell "we got a jumper, we got a jumper," and looked out her window to see Loury trying to jump over the fence. She stated that she did not see a gun in his hand, while police officers have indicated that they found a gun at the scene. An anonymous police source confirmed that Loury’s clothing had been caught on the fence as he scaled it.

Following the shooting, the woman said she had heard paramedics indicate the boy was still alive. Video footage shows Loury lying face down bleeding to death next to a fence as police officers stood around doing nothing to aid the teenager.

As reporters gathered outside her house, Loury's mother, Tambrasha Hudson, cried, "Everything they said on the news is not the truth. It is not the truth. It's not the truth.”

The following night on Tuesday, over 100 people gathered at the site of Loury’s killing for a vigil and protest, co-sponsored by Black Lives Matter Chicago. The crowd chanted "Justice for Pierre" with some carrying posters of young people who had been killed by police. At around 8 p.m., some of the protesters moved onto the 290 Eisenhower Expressway, a major thoroughfare, briefly shutting down traffic. Police immediately rushed to stop the protestors, arresting two.

For Loury to be killed in Homan Square, the site of the Chicago police black site where over 7,000 people have been held incommunicado, is an all too tragic indication of the rottenness and ever growing brutality of the police and the state, even in the face of continued protests.

In fact, just a few days ago, new reports revealed an even uglier picture of what has taken place at the Homan Square black site. It was reported “that police officers used punches, Tasers, knee strikes, strangulation, elbow strikes, and baton blows, among other forms of abuse against detainees.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, hand appointed by Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, released its “Executive Summary,” a contrived effort to criticize the Chicago police. The timing of the release of the summary, only two days after the killing, is a coordinated attempt to quell growing public anger. The report blames the unending police killings primarily on racism and states that “trust” must be built between the police and the citizens of Chicago.

Racism exists and its vile effects are felt by masses of people but the relentless effort to frame police violence as a fundamentally racial question conceals the true nature of the issue and only leads to calls for ineffectual “reforms” and oversight. While blacks are disproportionately killed by the police, the majority of the victims of police killings in the US are white.

The driving force for the continued wave of violence carried out by police forces throughout the country is the breakdown of the capitalist system and the reemergence of class struggle. The ever growing inequality plaguing cities such as Chicago and, thus, the ever growing hostility of workers towards the capitalist system, puts them in direct confrontation with the ruling class and the state.

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