Police attempt to clear protesters onto the sidewalks in Lincoln Park as another night of chaos hit Chicago, Illinois on May 31, 2020. | Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Police attempt to clear protesters onto the sidewalks in Lincoln Park during a protest on Sunday. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

LINCOLN PARK — Chicago Public Schools students, teachers and parents are spearheading a Lincoln Park protest Thursday to publicly demand that the city defund the Chicago Police Department.

The CPS community protest will be held at 5 p.m. outside Lincoln Park High School, 2001 N. Orchard St., according to its organizers. All CPS students, teachers and parents, as well as Chicago residents are invited to attend.

More information on the event can be found here.

“We as a city are tired of being told we do not have enough money to support citizens,” organizers said on the protest’s event page. “That we don’t have enough money for nurses, counselors, mental health clinics, affordable housing [and] equitable transportation.”

The city budgeted nearly $1.8 billion for CPD in 2020, according to Chicago’s budget overview.

“We are tired of being harassed and abused by police officers in schools,” organizers said. “We are tired of the school-to-prison pipeline that is directly attributable to the tradeoff of spending on police rather than schools.”

The protesters say they are calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade, who were all killed by police officers across the country within the last month.

The protesters are demanding:

  • for Chicago to defund its police department;
  • a Civilian Police Accountability Council that would replace instead of the current police board appointed by the mayor with consent of City Council; and
  • the release of all protesters from jail.

“We are calling for a city that puts people before profits and pain,” organizers said. “We are calling for a better future for our children and for ourselves.”

In a Thursday press conference about police reform, Mayor Lori Lightfoot dismissed the idea of reducing the Chicago police budget.

“I don’t think that’s an appropriate action in this time,” Lightfoot said. “I think the people in our neighborhoods who want and have been begging for more police support, in light of what’s happened over the last couple days, it would be irresponsible for me to entertain any idea that we would cut back.”

Multiple recent demonstrations have organized around broad restructuring of local police. Also Thursday, local activists are leading a rally in Grand Boulevard calling on CPS to cancel its contract with Chicago police to employ school resource officers.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Boystown and Lincoln Park for Block Club Chicago.

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