Police Believe Pfleger March Will Add To Violence With Officers Being Taken Off Streets

Craig Dellimore
June 29, 2018 - 8:41 am

Reverend Father Michael Pfleger/Facebook

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Father Michael Pfleger said he intends to go forward with a planned July 7 protest which would block lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

First Deputy Police Superintendent Anthony Riccio said blocking expressway traffic the weekend after the Fourth of July would force him to use some 200 officers for the protest that he could be using in the neighborhood.

“I really don’t know what the rationale to close down an expressway is,” Riccio said. “Look, this is one of the busiest weekends in the city. This is going to be the weekend right after the Fourth of July. We’re having a lot of resources, we’re putting a lot of resources into neighborhoods and communities. We have a very detailed plan about how we want to police the communities to keep everybody safe for the next 10 days, and this really throws a monkey wrench into that plan.”

St. Sabina Pastor Michael Pfleger said in the face of rising violence, business as usual won't do.

"Yes, it is meant to be an amp up that's the point of it, because the problem is getting devastating," he said.

The protest march is scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 7 in the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan, from 79th Street to 67th Street. Pfleger said the goal is to demand city officials do more to address violence.

Last year, the city experienced one of the most violent Fourth of July weekends in recent years, with 15 people killed and 87 others wounded — all involving shootings. According to the Tribune, the marchers plan to demand city officials and lawmakers use their muscle to create more jobs and better schools on the South and West sides, where some neighbors are plagued by violence, and to tighten gun control.

More than 1,300 people have been shot so far this year. That's down from the same time period in 2017 and 2016, but higher than 2015 and 2014. This month has already seen one of the worst violent weekends so far this year. The weekend of June 15 through June 18 saw 56 people shot, nine of whom died.