Dozens of “Black Lives Matter” protesters were arrested in Chicago this weekend when they ripped down the American flag outside McCormick Place and blocked a road leading to the venue — the site of a convention for some 14,000 law enforcement officers from around the world.
Video captured a protester scaling the flag pole and pulling down the Stars and Stripes. Police met him as he descended.
ABC 7 reports in its place, the protester flew a flag reading “Unapologetically Black.” It was “promptly” removed.
“What we’re looking for today is to have our voices heard, to show the coalition of voices, to show that black lives matter, to make our voices heard to this very powerful organization that sets policies,” according to protester Maria Hadden. “We want less money for policing and more money for community services.”
She didn’t specify which community services are more important than public safety.
She added, “What we are fighting for is the creation of a new system that places the interests and the needs of people first where our lives matter.”
She didn’t specify what type of economic or legal system she would prefer over capitalism and the rule of law.
The news station reports 66 protesters were arrested when they blocked the streets and refused to move.
Inside the convention hall, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy addressed the situation.
“We’re in a tough time for policing right now and I believe we’re at a crossroads. I don’t think this climate has ever existed in the history of American policing,” he said. “But at the same time I honestly believe this scrutiny and this environment presents an opportunity for us.”