A Black Lives Matter Chicago organizer said Monday that the mobs who vandalized and looted downtown businesses the night before did nothing wrong, calling it “reparations” for Black suffering.
“That is reparations,” Ariel Atkins, an organizer, told NBC Chicago. “Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”
Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside the South Loop police station Monday night to show support for the more than 100 individuals who were arrested during the looting Sunday night. Police said 13 officers were injured in the unrest, which was in response to the police-involved shooting of an armed Black man earlier in the day.
Police said Latrell Allen, 20, fired a gun at police before they returned fire, striking and wounding him. He now faces attempted murder charges.
Ms. Atkins appeared skeptical of the official story.
“Police say a lot of things,” she said.
“There’s no such thing as a bad protester,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “Also, [we’re] demanding that police be defunded. Police should not be here. They should not exist, especially because we’re giving them all this money to beat and terrorize us. We’re giving them all this money when it’s like we’re in an actual pandemic and people need care right now, but you’re giving them police.
“We don’t need police,” Ms. Atkins added. “We need care.”
At Monday’s demonstration outside of the police station, several protesters held a banner that read, “Our futures have been looted from us … loot back,” the Tribune reported.
“I think [the looting] is fine,” Ms. Atkins said. “People protest however they need to. People do whatever they need. These businesses have insurance. They can get it all back. We can’t get our lives back once they kill us. We can’t get rid of that trauma once you’ve been attacked by a police officer.”
“I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” she said. “That makes sure that person has clothes.”