Proposed closure of Ohio Street underpass sparks debate on city-wide violence

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CHICAGO – Aldermen Brendan Reilly’s suggestion to shut down the Ohio Street pedestrian underpass after a woman was fatally shot nearby stirs up debate regarding city-wide violence.

Although Reilly claims his plan to temporarily close the underpass was a cautious measure to ensure resident safety due to a lack of police officers monitoring the lakefront, South Side aldermen Anthony Beale says such actions to protect Chicagoans on the city’s South and West sides are not taken into consideration when similar shootings occur.

“It’s about a double-standard. It’s about the fact that we’re stopping the world, we’re reacting, we’re over-reacting because something happened downtown,” Beale told the Chicago Tribune. “Let me get that same reaction when people of color are killed out in the communities. Let me see that same reaction.”

Given that the downtown area is known to be a high-profile neighborhood and a common destination for city tourists, Beale is concerned that the city is only willing to take measures to protect a select region of the city and therefore only a small group of Chicagoans.

Mayor Emanuel also made a statement following Reilly’s plans, stating that he will work closely with the aldermen to make sure all of Chicago neighborhoods are protected.