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Reverend Al Plants Stakes in Chicago

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 31, 2007 6:00PM

2007_07_godfathers.jpgSo you think Chicagoist is sometimes too critical of the way Mayor Daley runs the city? Wait until the Reverend Al Sharpton gets settled in his new digs. The boisterous Gotham-based minister, with the pompadour that's fading away like a Neil Young lyric, is opening a Chicago chapter of his National Action Network this week, in part to add pressure to His Elective Majesty and Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine to react faster to police officers accused of brutality. Citing his involvement in high-profile NYPD brutality cases such as the 1997 assault of Abner Louima, Sharpton promises to hold the Mayor's office to a zero-tolerance policy regarding police brutality. When not in town, Rev. Sharpton's office will be represented by the Reverend Jeri Wright, the daughter of Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Senator Barack Obama's pastor).

The opening of Rev. Sharpton's office will also put into clear view the differing approaches of him and the Reverend Jessee Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition toward civil rights issues. While Rev. Jackson is more polished and established as an elder statesman, Rev. Sharpton won't hesitate to get "ruff" when the situation requires. Sometimes, as in the 1987 Tawana Brawley rape case, that approach comes back to haunt him. However, the two men often have the same goal in mind. The two teamed together to pressure CBS into firing Don Imus this spring. However, Rev. Jackson sees Rev. Sharpton's mission here in Chicago as a mirror of his own regarding police brutality.

If anything, this news gave us a reason to find this sweet shot of Rev. Sharpton and James Brown leaving the Reagan White House in 1982 after lobbying the Gipper to name Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday.

Image, by the way, courtesy of CNN/AP.