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Aloha Poke Faces Protests, CPD Verbally Tussles with Vic Mensa, Shooting Numbers Down – Third Coast Today 08-13-18

Chicago Police Threaten to Arrest Vic Mensa at Bud Billiken Parade

Rapper Vic Mensa, who served as grand marshal of this year’s 89th annual Bud Billiken Parade, got into a verbal altercation with Chicago police along the route over the weekend and says they threatened to arrest him.

Activists with the group Good Kids Mad City at a protest in March of 2018. Photo by Aaron Cynic/File.

“I was the Grand Marshall of the Bud Billiken parade today (largest black parade in America). It was beautiful,” wrote Mensa in video he posted to Instagram that shows him surrounded by officers. “Chicago Police Department threatened to arrest me & tow my bike because I had a group of activists carrying a CONVICT JASON VAN DYKE banner ??‍♂️ Then we gave out 1000 backpacks to the kids ? THERES A LOT OF HATE BUT LOVE IS THE STRONGEST AMMO!”

Mensa had already concluded his duties as Grand Marshal and drove back along the route to link up with activists with Good Kids Mad City and his SaveMoneySaveLives Foundation who carried a banner that read “convict Jason Van Dyke,” referring to the Chicago Police officer awaiting trial on murder charges for shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times, killing him. The group was given permission by Mensa to march in the parade, and said they were there to protest all shootings in Chicago, including ones committed by police officers.

Mensa said the group received contradictory directions from police officers along the parade route, and at one point an officer threatened to impound his motorcycle.

“I brought this banner out here — Convict Van Dyke — because a lot of people might have faded in memory as regards Laquan McDonald but we, the City of Chicago, haven’t,” Mensa told the Sun-Times. “The police are now surrounding us because of what we’re saying. We’re not being disruptive or violent or anything like that.”

Good Kids Mad City says they’ll talk about the incident at a Wednesday press conference in front of Chicago police headquarters, along with the recent shootings and the department’s plan to shut down “unsanctioned” block parties.

“Youth should have more safe spaces to play and have fun yet CPD wants to institute fascist marshall law on Black youth,” the group wrote in a press release. “Safety looks like healthy well resourced neighborhoods and not police.”

Aloha Poke Faces More Protests

Protesters descended on Aloha Poke’s location in Revival Food Hall in the Loop on Monday morning in what will be a series of planned protests this week, calling the Chicago-based chain restaurant out for cultural appropriation and bullying small businesses.

According to Eater, as the company was preparing to expand nationally last fall, Aloha Poke sent out cease-and-desist letters to businesses across the country with the words “aloha” and “poke” in their names. Some of the letters went to small shops run by local and native Hawaiians in their home state.

“‘Aloha’ is an incredibly cultural significant term for our people,” Dr. Kalamaokaaina Niheu, said in a video that went viral earlier this month. “It is something that has been completely commercialized and denigrated. In reality it is an incredibly powerful word. To trademark that word and to punish people for the use of this? A Chicago company?”

After the controversy became national news, Aloha Poke made a public apology on social media and tried to downplay its actions, but those affected by the company’s decision haven’t bought into their claims.

“We stand together against cultural appropriation and make it very clear that aloha cannot be sold,” wrote the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in a Facebook live broadcast of Monday’s protest. Groups say they plan more protests for later this week.

Railroad Police “Regret” Using Bait Trucks, Say They’ll End Practice

Officials with Norfolk Southern Railroad say they “regret” using a sting operation where trailer trucks filled with merchandise were parked in a South-Side neighborhood to lure residents. According to videos posted by activists online last week, a semi truck filled with shoes was parked more than a mile away from the nearest rail yard in Englewood while officers waited nearby to arrest anyone who was caught going into the truck.

“Norfolk Southern recognizes that, despite the need to safeguard freight in the area, this operation eroded trust between law enforcement and the community,” Herbert Smith, manager of community and legislative affairs, said in a statement published by Block Club Chicago, who initially broke the story last week. “We sincerely regret that our actions caused further unease, and we don’t plan to use this method in the future.”

Weekend Shooting Numbers Drop

The number of shootings dropped over the weekend after a huge spike in shootings the weekend prior. The Chicago Tribune reports at least 36 people were wounded and one killed by gunfire over the weekend, a significant drop from nearly 70 shot the previous weekend. This year so far some 1,869 people have been shot in Chicago, 334 fatally, lower than the past two years.

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