44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney said he is “deeply concerned” that Chicago Police Department planned staffing for the annual Chicago Pride Parade is “insufficient” and needs to be addressed by city officials before Sunday.
In a letter dated June 21, Tunney called on Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown to “properly” staff the entire parade weekend, beginning the evening of Friday, June 24 to the morning of Monday, June 27. The parade is Sunday, June 26.
“I am making this request on behalf of my constituents in the 44th Ward, Pride Parade participants and spectators, and our dedicated 19th District officers because I strongly believe that after a two-year hiatus, this Pride Parade will be the largest in Chicago history,” Tunney wrote.
Tunney said that the current staffing plans for the parade as outlined by police “are insufficient for the size of the crowds the City realistically should be anticipating.”
According to Tunney, the Northalsted neighborhood “already has seen large, sometimes rowdy, crowds this year.”
He added, “I am very troubled by the situation that occurred Monday at 3 a.m. on Halsted and do not want to see it repeated.”
Two officers were injured last Monday when a “huge fight” broke out at the intersection of Halsted and Roscoe streets around 2:45 a.m., after Chicago Pride Fest had concluded.
Officers from the 19th Police District "sounded overwhelmed and understaffed" responding to the melee that included about 75 people, according to CWBChicago.com
"Ask other districts to send cars here," an officer said over police radio. "This is absolutely wild."
Tunney said he has “repeatedly and publically stated in the past” that the 19th Police District needs more officers "under normal circumstances.”
Police arrested 23 people
during and after the 2019 parade, which was cut short due to inclement weather. The 2020 and 2021 parades were canceled due to COVID-19.
Full text of Tunney's letter:Dear Superintendent Brown:Following up on our recent conversation, I am writing to you today to request additional police resources for the upcoming Pride Parade weekend beginning the evening of Friday, June 24 to the morning of Monday, June 27.I am making this request on behalf of my constituents in the 44th Ward, Pride Parade participants and spectators, and our dedicated 019th District officers because I strongly believe that after a two-year hiatus, this Pride Parade will be the largest in Chicago history.In a normal year, the Pride Parade consists of hundreds of floats, thousands of marchers and approximately one million spectators. I am deeply concerned that the current staffing plans for the Pride Parade as outlined to me are insufficient for the size of the crowds the City realistically should be anticipating.As noted above, Lakeview needs increased staffing during the entire Pride Parade weekend and into Monday morning. Northalsted, the LGTBQ nightlife corridor in my ward, already has seen large, sometimes rowdy, crowds this year. I have repeatedly and publicly stated in the past, the 019th Police District needs more officers under normal circumstances.I am very troubled by the situation that occurred Monday at 3am on Halsted and do not want to see it repeated. I listened to the numerous radio calls from the 019th District officers asking for assistance from officers from other districts to control unruly groups of individuals following the Pride Fest and, based on that situation, am concerned that the ongoing issues with understaffing will make the Pride Parade unsafe for participants, spectators, and, importantly, our police officers, many of whom I understand will have been working more than a week without a day of to rest up and recharge.As a member of the Committee on Public Safety, I understand that the retention and hiring of officers is a challenging problem that your office is working to address. I look forward to working with you, other members of the Committee on Public Safety and the City Council as a whole on finding innovative ways to both retain and hire more officers.In the short term, however, I am requesting that you ensure the 019th Police District is properly staffed this weekend so that everyone can celebrate a safe and happy Pride.Sincerely,Thomas M. TunneyAlderman, 44th Ward