AUBURN GRESHAM — The Rev. Michael Pfleger isn't afraid to speak his mind, even if it offends people. This weekend, however, churchgoers at his St. Sabina Church on the South Side were hit with a slew of parking tickets — and he said he thinks they were targeted by a Chicago Police officer who doesn't like what he has to say.
The Catholic priest and anti-violence activist shared this on Facebook Sunday:
The Chicago Police Department said only two parking tickets were given Sunday, around 12:30 p.m. near St. Sabina. One was for parking in a crosswalk and another for parking in a no parking zone, said Officer Nicole Trainor, a Police Department spokeswoman.
Pfleger showed DNAinfo Chicago two of the tickets his parishioners received last week. Both were for parking 30 feet from a stop sign. Pfleger said that the officer who wrote the tickets is a member of the Gresham District tactical unit.
According to the Police Department's website, tactical officers wear plain clothes and concentrate on "vice and narcotics arrests."
"I've never heard of that in my life. It was the same officer both days," Pfleger said. "Why is it the same officer? Same officer. Two days in a row. I would think a tactical unit guy would have better things to do."
Pfleger said that he knows of at least six other tickets. He also said that one of the people ticketed is the son of a police officer.
"I don't know if this is something personal with me. All I've been saying is that if it is personal with me, come to talk me," Pfleger said. "Don't take it out on my parishioners on Sunday morning during church."
Pfleger said the flag flap was a miscommunication with the church maintenance crew, but continued to fly the flag at half-staff, saying "We're mourning the violence and the loss of life here in Chicago."
Another Pfleger controversy has brewing been in Beverly, where he was asked to be part of a panel about ending violence on Feb. 27 in Chicago at St. Barnabas parish. Many people from the Beverly area, where many city police officers live, consider Pfleger to be anti-police, and are furious that he's coming to their church.
"Am I hard on the police? No, I am hard on bad police," said Pfleger.
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