A group of black pastors who are angry about police violence in Chicago have boycotted an annual breakfast with the local Mayor to commemorate Martin Luther King.
Protestors and a handful of religious leaders entered the Hyatt Hotel and tried to get into the room where the breakfast was being held but security staff led them back outside.
They called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down. One protestor shouted “16 shots!” to express the group’s anger and frustration over the case of Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old who was killed by the police in October 2014.
The protest comes after the police released new footage that shows white policeman Jason Van Dyke shooting black teenager Mr McDonald as he walked away from him.
The police has also released a video of the fatal shooting of Cedrick Chatman in January 2013, which shows that, contrary to police statements, Mr Chatman did not point a dark object at them.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, 70 pastors decided to boycott the breakfast with the Mayor.
“This boycott is not in opposition to Harold Washington nor Martin Luther King Jr. This boycott stands for the very cause that they stood for, it was through protesting that achievement was made. To sit by and do nothing is to endorse what is going on,” said Bishop Edgar Mullins, pastor of Grace Family Worship Center church, as reported by Reuters.
The first Martin Luther King commemoration breakfast was held 31 years ago in Washington.
A wave of protests over the killing of Mr McDonald led Mayor Emanuel to fire his police chief and accept an investigation into the police department. Policeman Jason van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder.
Mayor Emanuel apologized for the shooting of Mr McDonald in December at a special City Council meeting and said police officers were “too quick to shoot”.