Black Lives Matter members in Chicago held a rally on Monday to support and defend the more than 100 people who were arrested for looting in the city's downtown area the previous night.
Standing outside the police station where the arrested looters were being held, a Black Lives Matter organizer, Ariel Atkins, justified the looting and rioting — which caused an estimated $60 million in damages — as "reparations" to which the black community is entitled.
"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," Atkins said, WMAQ-TV reported. "That makes sure that person has clothes."
"That is reparations," Atkins added. "Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance."
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter Chicago released a statement Monday warning that unrest will continue until "the safety and well-being of our communities is finally prioritized."
"The mayor clearly has not learned anything since May, and she would be wise to understand that the people will keep rising up until the [Chicago Police Department] is abolished and our Black communities are fully invested in," the group said, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The statement went on to say, "Over the past few months, too many people — disproportionately Black and Brown — have lost their jobs, lost their income, lost their homes, and lost their lives as the city has done nothing and the Chicago elite have profited. When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not 'our' city and has never been meant for us."
The new wave of racial unrest was triggered Sunday after an officer-involved shooting in Englewood, one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods.
Police claim 20-year-old Latrell Allen fired shots at police, who responded by firing their weapons, striking and wounding Allen.
But activists questioned that version of events, especially after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency tasked investigating officer-involved shootings, revealed that the officers involved in the incident were not wearing body cameras, the Sun-Times reported.
Ultimately, police charged Allen with two counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon.