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Police Support Group Upset Over Exclusion From St. Patrick's Day Parade

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago group that formed last October to show support for police officers amid the Laquan McDonald protests said it's a "slap in the face" that they've been denied entry into the downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130, which sponsors the St. Patrick's Day Parade, rejected Chicago Code Blue's application to join the lineup on March 12.

"We took it as a slap in the face. We feel that we're doing something positive. We feel that this city needs to have its citizens show support for our officers. This is for the officers. This wasn't for the actual Chicago Police Department, this wasn't for the FOP [Fraternal Order of Police], this wasn't for the mayor, this was strictly for the officers," Code Blue organizer Gary Snow said.


Parade organizers said they enthusiastically support the police, but because Code Blue is a new group, there wasn't time to vet them before the parade.

Chicago Code Blue formed in October, in response to the growing number of protests against police, to show support for officers.

"It just started to snowball, and more and more people wanted to get involved. There's a lot of people in the city of Chicago that want to show support. I feel that a lot of them are intimidated," he said.

Snow said he believes police officer morale is at an all-time low in Chicago, and that's the point of trying to get Code Blue into the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"I feel that it has to do with the public sentiment towards our officers. That has to change. That's up to the citizens. We have to step up to the plate. We have to show our officers that we stand with them," he said.

According to Snow, Toys For Tots, the Illinois Freedom Run, and police wives and family members were planning to march with Code Blue in the parade, but the group keeps getting rejected when it tries to organize public shows of support for police officers.

"I'm not angry, I'm more upset. Every time we try to throw an event, every time we try to throw a rally, we hear the same thing: 'Hey, we really appreciate your efforts, but can you not do it?' or 'Can you reschedule it? or 'Just not here,'" Snow said.

Snow said the rejection of the group's parade application came after the Police Department asked Chicago Code Blue to call off a planned rally in support of officers in December.

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