CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago activist known as the Dreadhead Cowboy is facing multiple criminal charges, after riding his horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway on Monday afternoon, while streaming a live video on Facebook with the message “Kids lives matter.”
Adam Hollingsworth, 33, has been charged with reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer, criminal trespass to state supported property, obstruction of traffic, and illegal pedestrian use of a controlled access highway.
His family said he was still in custody at the Chicago Police Department’s 5th (Calumet) District station on Tuesday afternoon.
Family of the Dreadhead Cowboy is at CPD District 5. Sister says she doesn’t know why he’s being held so long. She still hasn’t heard from ISP. She doesn’t know where the horse is being kept. @cbschicago
— Vi Nguyen (@ViNguyen) September 22, 2020
The Dan Ryan Expressway became embroiled in a bizarre traffic jam around 4:30 p.m. Monday, after Hollingsworth took to the outbound lanes on horseback and rode six miles before being guided off and arrested.
Illinois State Police said they got multiple calls about someone riding a horse on the Dan Ryan southbound at 47th Street at 4:28 p.m.
Numerous people tweeted about the wild scene, which went on for about 30 minutes in total.
Hollingsworth — who goes by the moniker Dreadhead Cowboy, and also picked up the nickname Census Cowboy after Mayor Lori Lightfoot recruited him to help promote the U.S. Census — posted Facebook Live video of himself on horseback on the Dan Ryan, with the caption, “Kids lives matter dan ryan shut down until we understand that nothing else matter.”
A car flanked the him during the horseback ride with a sign that also read, “Kids’ lives matter.”
“Until we understand kids’ lives matter, nothing else matters,” the Dreadhead Cowboy is heard saying. “We’re going to shut down the whole Dan Ryan.”
State troopers caught up to Hollingsworth at 71st Street. State police said he was surrounded by several motorcycles and vehicles.
Officers asked Hollingsworth to ride his way off the expressway and asked all the other vehicles to get off too, but they refused, state police said.
For the safety of everyone in the group, other drivers on the expressway, and the horse, officers made their request into an order and escorted everyone off at 95th Street, state police said.
Once they were off the expressway, Hollingsworth was arrested. State police said they and Chicago Police had met with Hollingsworth back on Wednesday, Sept. 9 about a protest he was planning on the Dan Ryan. Police told Hollingsworth he would not be protesting on the Dan Ryan because it is dangerous and illegal for pedestrians to get onto the expressway, but he rode his horse down the expressway on Monday anyway, state police said.
After Hollingsworth was taken into custody, troopers found several injuries to the horse. The animal was bleeding from the left hoof, the right hoof was injured, and the horse also had sores from the saddle, state police said.
At that point, somebody else tried forcibly to gain control of the horse, state police said. That man – Darron Luster, 55 – was asked multiple times to let go of the horse, but he would not, state police said.
Luster was arrested for obstructing, but resisted arrest and dropped to the ground, demanding an ambulance, state police said. Officers called for an ambulance to evaluate Luster, but he refused medical attention at the scene and said he would only go inside a police squad car, not an ambulance, state police said.
So Luster went into a squad car and was also taken to the Calumet District station, state police said. Luster was released on $1,000 bond.
Officers were seen pouring water on the horse before the animal was taken from the scene in a Chicago Police Mounted Patrol trailer.
The horse was taken to Animal care and Control, which said it would examine the animal and document the injuries. State police said the horse since has been transferred to an animal rescue facility for further evaluation.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was not pleased about Hollingsworth’s ride at all. Her office released a statement lat Monday on the incident:
“While the Illinois State Police (ISP) is directly leading all police matters around this incident due to the jurisdiction, Mayor Lightfoot has been briefed on it by the Chicago Police Department, who are assisting ISP on the incident. What is clear is that this stunt not only seriously endangered the horse but also the rider and all travelers on the expressway. There is a right way and a wrong way to call attention to issues of great importance and this stunt was decidedly the very wrong way. Furthermore, the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) was on-scene arranging for the treatment of the horse which was injured as a result of this stunt and are now working to transport the animal to a temporary shelter where it can receive proper care.”