(CBS) – The Rev. Al Sharpton is joining with Chicago ministers to push for Justice Department oversight of the Chicago Police Department.
The civil-rights activist is invoking the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King to do it.
Sharpton says President Trump’s promise to send in the feds to Chicago to fight crime rings hollow without government oversight for Chicago police.
“You cannot have it both ways. You must fight criminal behavior whether the criminal has on blue jeans or a blue uniform,” he said Thursday. “A criminal is a criminal and ought to be treated like that.”
He joined Chicago ministers to pressure U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a court-enforced consent decree to oversee Chicago police reform, in the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald police shooting.
“Chicago was on its way to police reform until the Trump administration brought in Jeff Sessions as the attorney general of this nation,” Pastor Cy Fields of New Landmark Baptist Church.
Now, several Chicago pastors are promising to join Sharpton in Washington next month on the 54th anniversary of Dr. King’s “Dream” speech.
“Dr. King taught us we must speak truth to power, and it doesn’t matter who is in power,” Rev. Ira Acree of St. John Bible Church said.
Shapton characterizes the event as a 1,000 ministers march on Sessions and the Justice Department.
“Why do we want a thousand ministers? Because it’s time we stand up, and the Christian right have to face the right Christians,” he said.
Through a federal lawsuit, a coalition of civil rights groups is seeking to force police to adopt reforms like those recommended in a Justice Department report released in January. That was under the Obama Administration.