More than one hundred people took part in a rally Thursday night in front of Chicago's 16th district police station, with many holding signs and loudly showing support for members of law enforcement in the city.
“I just think its important to show support for police in general,” said Chicago resident Christine Bezatian. “You don’t see a lot of support in the city.”
The seventh annual "Support Your Local Police" rally was hosted by several Chicago aldermen, including Ald. Nicholas Sposato.
“We want to show our love to the police officer that just keeps taking a beating day in and day out,” he said. “It’s not just the shootings we see what happened when they drive down the street, the disrespect of police, the jumping on the cars. They give them the finger, they’re swearing at them it’s just nonstop.”
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The rally comes just one day after two ATF agents and a Chicago police officer were shot early Wednesday. 28-year-old Eugene Mclaurin is in federal custody Thursday night, charged in connection with the shooting, which occurred on the on-ramp of I-57 at 119th Street in Morgan Park.
Federal prosecutors said the agents and the officers were conducting an investigation in an unmarked car when they noticed a car following them.
“They were able to record the license plate of that other vehicle when the agents and task force officer approached the expressway in their unmarked vehicle-- the driver of the other vehicle with his window down began firing at them, said John Kocoras, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Police later found the suspect’s car and tracked him down to a house on 89th Street. Mclaurin told investigators he thought the undercover officers were rival gang members.
“He acknowledged that he was the driver of the vehicle and that he fired the shots,” he said.
According to numbers provided by the Chicago police department, 36 officers have been shot at in 2021, compared to 24 for the entire year of 2020.
“Every time we hear 'officer shot,' you know, your heart drops,” said Chicago Police Lt. John Garrido.
“I’m here to support my police family and I know what they’re going through because I went through it myself,” retired CPD officer Adolfo Lopez said.
Lopez now serves as a chaplain for the department and knows times have changed for law enforcement.
“Today the streets are not safe because the policemen can’t do his job,” said Lopez.
Money raised from the rally will help sponsor events at the 16th District Police Station and the Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation.