Pfleger: March down Dan Ryan will go on despite ISP, CPD opposition

EMBED </>More Videos

In a press conference Tuesday, Father Michael Pfleger said he will push forward with a march on the Dan Ryan Expressway despite police opposition. (WLS)

Father Michael Pfleger is planning to stop traffic on one of the Chicago area's busiest expressways in an effort to demand change regarding the violence in the city.

The protest is set to happen Saturday morning, on the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway from 79th to 67th streets. Pfleger said the group will meet at 79th Street near the Dan Ryan at 9:45 a.m. The march will then proceed down the ramp onto the expressway.

EMBED More News Videos

Father Pfleger and community leaders held a press conference Tuesday to address the planned march on the Dan Ryan.


Buses to the march will be available at St. Sabina Church, Pfleger said.

Hundreds of marchers are scheduled to join in, carrying banners demanding common sense gun laws, community resources, better schools, jobs and economic development.

Pfleger contends by doing something this drastic, he will raise the awareness of crimes in the city.

At a press conference about the march Tuesday, Pfleger said the Illinois State Police has said they will arrest anyone who sets foot on the expressway.

EMBED More News Videos

Father Pfleger and community leaders gave a press conference Tuesday to address the planned Dan Ryan march.



"We've gotten threats. The biggest one came this morning from the state police" Pfleger said during the conference. "They hand delivered this morning stating that they will arrest anyone who sets foot on the Dan Ryan. And if they want to arrest children and mothers and pastors and civic leaders and elected officials, if that's the stance they're going to take."

Community activist Trevon Bosley, 20, led march organizers in ripping up the ISP statement threatening arrests at the end of the conference. Bosley's brother, Terell was killed in 2006.

"People get shot every day in Chicago, as well as people get arrested for minor problems to no problems in the city, so if we have to disrupt it for a cause that we believe in, we're ready to do that," Bosley said.

EMBED More News Videos

Father Pfleger and community leaders held a press conference Tuesday to address the planned march on the Dan Ryan.



In a statement released Tuesday, Illinois State Police representatives said they "are warning pedestrians not to enter any expressways in Illinois, or they will face arrest and prosecution."

The statement also said that both ISP and Chicago Police Department personnel have met with Pfleger "on several occasions to discuss the dangers of holding a march on the Dan Ryan Expressway."

"In the interest of protecting lives while accomplishing the goal of peace, the ISP and CPD requests Father Pfleger reconsider the options to peacefully protest at alternate locations where the lives of the public and protestors will not be in jeopardy," the statement read.

EMBED More News Videos

Father Pfleger and community leaders held a press conference Tuesday to address the planned march on the Dan Ryan.


"We're not looking to arrest people," said ISP Director Leo Schmitz. "If people break the law, we may have to arrest people. But that's not what our goal is here."
"If the president of the United States was to come to Chicago today, law enforcement would immediately be pulled, and the entire expressway would absolutely be shut down, without negotiation, without conversation, and without fail, to protect one man, who ironically has not done anything currently to save the lives of the thousands of people who have been murdered, shot or wounded in this great city of Chicago," said Bright Star Community Outreach CEO Pastor Chris Harris at the press conference.

Chicago police warn they have to pull 200 officers out of the high crime neighborhoods on the South and West sides to protect the protesters, leaving those areas unprotected.

"I don't work for the police department, but let me offer them some advice," Pfleger said. "If they say doing this will be pulling officers from the most needed neighborhoods in the city of Chicago, then pull them from the north side."

In a statement released Tuesday, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., said that he planned to protest with Pfleger because he wants to call attention to the disparities between Chicago's neighborhoods and referred to the south and west sides as Chicago's "border towns."

"On Saturday, July 7, I will proudly join Father Michael Pfleger and march down the Dan Ryan Expressway to highlight the shameful treatment of Chicago's border towns," Jackson wrote. "Father Mike should be cheered, not jeered, for bringing the church alive and taking it to the streets where it is needed most."
Related Topics:
chicago violencechicago crimegun violenceprotestmichael pflegerChicagoChathamPark ManorEnglewood
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)