Michelle Harris Staffers – Disrespectful Towards The Press
By Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
In a brazen moment of careless disrespect, Alderman Michelle Harris’ ward office staffers, who identified themselves as volunteers, falsely accused a Chicago Defender writer of “breaking into” the Alderman’s office with the local activist. On Monday night members of the Community Accountability Council, a collaboration between various community groups including Action Now, Citizen to Abolish Red Light Cameras and others, staged an impromptu protest at Alderman Michelle Harris’ office on 85th and Cottage Grove.
According to one activist who asked not to be identified, around 6 pm Monday evening, the group of about 30 protestors made their way into Alderman Harris’ office demanding a meeting with her. Doug Bevel, son of famed civil rights leader Diane Nash stated “Alderman Harris’ voting record is 100% in favor of Rahm Emanuel. She has supported everything this Mayor has asked for and hasn’t displayed any dissent whatsoever.”
“A complete sell-out,” said another activist as the multi-cultural group chanted in unison, holding up signs “fire liars” and “16 Shots!” The group insisted that the Alderman was there while several staffers denied the allegation while attempting to reason with the group to leave the office. Some in the group felt as though Alderman Harris was hiding out in the back, behind a locked door and didn’t want to speak to the group. Lena Moore, a long-term 8th Ward residents accused Alderman Harris of never being available to meet with residents and doing nothing for the community at large.
At around 5:45 pm, a Chicago Defender staff writer received a hot tip that a protest was about to happen. At approximately 6:55, the staff writer entered the Alderman’s office through an open door held by an activist and began to record the event. After roughly 15 minutes, the staffers/volunteers called the police and when the police arrived they requested that the activists leave the Alderman’s office. At which point, the Defender staff writer approached the staffers/volunteers and handed them a business card and asked to speak to Alderman Michelle Harris or an office manager. One volunteer who initially refused to identify himself repeatedly accused the writer of “breaking in” with the activist.
Outside the Alderman’s office, concerned resident Adeline Bracey, when asked why she was protesting stated “We want justice for Laquan McDonald and we want criminal reform. We’re so tired of business as usual and if a policeman shoots somebody, he should be held accountable.”
The entire episode was captured on cell phone video.