Anti-violence protest on Dan Ryan leads to political war of words
Saturday’s anti-violence protest that shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway has led to a war of words between Governor Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
And now, the priest who led the march is asking both political leaders to stop bickering and do something to fix the problem.
Father Michael Pfleger says they got the attention they were looking for with Saturday’s anti-violence march that shut down the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan. But he worries it's now turning into a political food fight between Rauner and Emanuel.
"This is not about the politics. This is not about election,” Pfleger said.
On Saturday, the governor claimed Chicago police and the protesters violated a deal with state police that would have kept the expressway open, tweeting: "I'm disappointed in the Mayor. There was an agreement in place. I am calling on the Mayor to take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos."
The mayor responded on Twitter: "It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account."
On Monday, the governor wasn’t backing down.
"Just as no one should walk onto a runway at O'Hare airport, no one should walk onto an interstate expressway. That tactic was wrong and it was dangerous,” Rauner said.
Father Pfleger denies he ever agreed to a deal with state police, but says they're missing the point.
"All of the naysayers and armchair quarterbacks and the politics and election gibberish, stop it. Stop it! Let's deal with the issues,” Pfleger said.
The protesters are demanding sit down meetings with the governor, the mayor and everyone running for those positions to talk about violence in south and west side neighborhoods.
"Mostly what we want to talk about is the solutions to these problems. The lack of school funding. The lack of jobs for people of color. The failing justice system,” said Trevon Bosley.
Father Pfleger says if they don't get the attention of political leaders, they'll escalate with more civil disobedience. But he wouldn't say exactly what they have in mind.
"We're gonna take it up a notch,” Pfleger said. "We're not showing that hand yet. You always keep your wild cards."