CHICAGO--The Fraternal Order of Police is fuming about the city's decision to grant a permit that paved the way for a Memorial Day weekend march honoring the birthday of David "King David" Barksdale, founder of the Gangster Disciples street gang.
The parade along South Ashland Avenue in the Englewood neighborhood was held Saturday, apparently without incident. Chicago Police officers assigned to the event were forewarned to expect trouble because the Gangster Disciples have "strong ties" to another major street gang.
"Officers should be aware that the aforementioned gangs have historical and current conflict with other rival gangs as well as some factions experiencing internal conflict. Therefore, officers assigned to the area of the parade should be aware that the possibility of gang violence exists," said a May 22 advisory from the police Bureau of Strategic Deployment.
FOP President Mark Donahue was incredulous that City Hall allowed it to happen. "It's an insult. This is a violent street gang credited with multiple murders and chaos within communities. All residents in areas where they are located should be offended," he said.
Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond said the permit to hold an "anti-violence march" was granted by the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to a group known as "House of David, Put Down the Guns, Put on the Gloves."
"It's an anti-violence group very similar to groups like CeaseFire. They use their life experiences to deter youth from going down the wrong path," she said.
Bond insisted that there was "nothing in the permit that indicated criminal activity or a threat." Why, then was a police advisory issued three days before the event?
"Intelligence was gathered late Thursday that indicated that this group may have involved former gang members. Once we got word that former gang members late in age may be in attendance, necessary precautions were put into place," she said.