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Pfleger, Rep. Davis, Durbin call for end of attacks on letter carriers

Father Michael L. Pfleger, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on the U.S. Justice Department and the Postmaster General to help end the attacks on letter carriers. Hours earlier, Rep. Davis denounced the attack of an ABC cameraman by two Black men who threw him to the ground and robbed him of two cell phones.

Davis rips attack on ABC cameraman


Father Michael L.  Pfleger and Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th) joined the scores of National Association of Letter Carriers members outside of the Charles D. Duffy, Branch 11 headquarters, 3850 W. Wabash Ave., at a rally calling for an end to the increasing attacks on postal letter carriers.

Rep. Davis also denounced an earlier attack by two men against an ABC 7 cameraman who was coming to cover a press conference outside his office about the death of Rev. Paul Jakes 14-year-old cousin, Damarion Jakes, who was shot in the head on the West Side and died Monday, August 7th.

The teen died Monday, August 7th. Both Davis and Jakes expressed condolences on the death of the teenager. Rev. Jakes is calling for every Wednesday to be a “love” each other day, but they were very upset about the attack on the ABC 7 cameraman.

The robbers struggled with the cameraman, threw him to the ground and took two of his phones. “Here we are a cameraman coming to cover a story, and somebody in the community who sees this lonely non-community member and decides he is a mark.  It’s a shame…,” Davis said.

He called on the community to organize and look out for each other. The ABC 7 news said the cameraman was not hurt. However, the letter carriers are getting robbed and shot.

And that does not sit well with Rep. Davis and Father Pfleger who prayed at the letter carrier’s rally. “Never was a day when we thought there would be any dangers towards our carriers. They are our families, our neighbors our friends, but seemingly that day has fallen aside when it’s dangerous for them to just go to work,” Pfleger said.

“It’s dangerous for women. It’s dangerous for our children when a 9-year-old gets shot in front of her house,” said Father Pfleger. “We are living in dangerous days. We ask that you convict our hearts to divorce ourselves from this love affair with gun violence.”

Calling for unity and a sense of brotherhood, Father Pfleger said no one should be afraid in this era of gun violence and where he said, “fear seems to be ruling us.”

But the letter carriers are fighting back. “We are calling for an end of the attacks on postal workers,” said Elise Foster, president of the National Association Letter Carriers, Branch 11. “Our workers are being robbed. We had one last week who was shot delivering mail.”

Later, in an interview with the Chicago Crusader, Foster said,” This is going on all over the city. They are not discriminating in the communities they going to the suburbs like in Bellwood, Maywood, and Broadview.”

Asked if she thought these robberies were organized, Foster wasn’t sure, but she thinks so; however, she can’t be sure because she said the thieves and robbers “are not being caught and prosecuted.” The robbers are after the Arrow Keys which allow them to open mailboxes citywide.

When asked what she is calling for, Foster said, “We are calling for an end to this violence. We are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice for help. We are calling on the Department of Justice and U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy who is doing more to keeping up with the mailboxes than to protect the postal workers.

“We are calling for more of our elected officials to get involved, to prosecute” those caught attacking letter carriers and to protect the postal workers. “We’re out here by ourselves,” Foster said.

Their cries for help have fallen on the ears of Sen. Durbin who wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy calling for their assistance. Durbin said on August 1st in the middle of the afternoon, an on-duty letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service was reportedly shot on the northside of Chicago during an armed robbery.

Then, Durbin said, 15 minutes later in the same area, a second letter carrier was robbed at gunpoint. The Senator said the very next day two suspects including one armed with a gun robbed a letter carrier and stole a bag of mail in Berwyn. The reasons for the postal thefts are varied.

“It also is obvious that the security of the mail is directly related to the security of our elections, as the use of voting by mail continues to expand,” Durbin wrote. “Ballots may not be the target of mail thieves, but they could easily get swept up in letters stolen from carriers or collection boxes.

“Every time a ballot is not delivered to its intended location, a voter is disenfranchised, and confidence in the outcome of our elections is undermined. To bolster the security of elections, we must take steps to bolster the security of the mail, and this work cannot wait until the eve of an election, or, even worse, after one takes place,” Senator Durbin warned.

Once again, Durbin cited the United States Postal Service’ (USPS) initiative to replace the arrow locks with electronic locks that require a two-factor identification.

“The USPS also referenced another nationwide initiative to harden blue collection boxes and institute dual authentication for change-of-address protocols,” wrote Durbin. “USPS also suggested that crime alerts are taking place in a geographically targeted manner.

“USPS further noted that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) pays the salaries and benefits for Special Assistant United States Attorneys to bring federal prosecutions related to crimes involving the mail.”

Sen. Durbin said the DOJ did not provide an informative response about its efforts to work with USPS and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) “to hold accountable those committing these crimes.”

Demanding answers to a myriad of questions, Durbin wants to know why USPS decided to replace arrow locks on 49,000 collection boxes when there are about 130,000 boxes in service. He also wants to know how many of the 49,000 replacement locks and 12,000 hardened collection boxes have been installed.

Durbin also wants to know when will all arrow locks be replaced, which cities have upgrades been performed and what is the procurement process for replacing arrow locks and the hardened collection boxes.

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