Rev. Michael Pfleger isn’t backing down on his call to shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway during a Peace March this weekend, despite pleas from police to move the event.
Pfleger posted on Facebook during a violent Chicago weekend, saying the march aims to “force the city to stop ignoring this violence.”
“Civil disobedience is to say we will interrupt business as usual to demand these issues be addressed,” he wrote Friday.
A day earlier, a top Chicago Police Department official cautioned the event could have big implications for the areas the march aims to help.
“The very thing that they’re trying to accomplish — stop violence and stop shootings — has the potential to actually escalate because we’re pulling police officers out of the neighborhoods where we need them in order to escort the protesters down the expressway,” First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio told reporters after a City Hall hearing Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Hundreds of officers are expected to assist during the planned march. According to the Tribune, police suggested moving the march to a neighborhood street, but said Pfleger was not receptive.
“[I]nteresting that the Police say the Shut Down of the Ryan next Saturday may hurt the Communities because they would have to pull Police from the Communities… WOW, Never heard that said when they pull Police for lollapalooza or Blackhawks, Cubs Victories, NFL Drafts, Marathon Race, St. Patrick’s Day Parade…..etc….SMH,” Pfleger wrote Saturday.
Pfleger is no stranger to planning marches and major events calling for an end to the violence. He most recently hosted a rally and March for Peace on the city’s South Side along with celebrities like Chance the Rapper and Jennifer Hudson and Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors last month.
Chicago police said in a statement Monday that the department “is committed to safeguarding the citizens of Chicago and all who visit our city,” noting that Illinois State Police will be in charge of the planned march.
“We will work with our state and local partners and assist in anyway [sic] needed,” the statement read.
Illinois State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The march is slated for Saturday morning.