After Orlando, Kirk asks FBI for Chicago Pride Parade security help

  • Chicago's Broadway was lined with parade pride flags in celebration of the 2015 Pride Parade.

      Chicago's Broadway was lined with parade pride flags in celebration of the 2015 Pride Parade. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Sen. Mark Kirk says he wants to "reduce the chance of a copycat" at Chicago's Pride Parade on June 26.

    Sen. Mark Kirk says he wants to "reduce the chance of a copycat" at Chicago's Pride Parade on June 26. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 6/15/2016 10:39 PM

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has sent a letter to an FBI official asking for assurances Chicago's Pride Parade this month will be kept safe "in the wake of the Orlando massacre."

"We've established multiple contact points between the FBI and Equality Illinois to make sure we have full coordination, especially on the security front," Kirk said in an interview about the letter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Equality Illinois is a prominent gay rights group. Its CEO, Brian Johnson, said he appreciates Kirk's concern and sent contact information about the parade's organizers to Kirk's office.

The killing of 49 people by an armed man at Pulse nightclub in Orlando has sparked discussions among local members of Congress and the candidates for president about terrorist threats, the availability of guns and security concerns across the country.

Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, said he wants to "reduce the chance of a copycat" but knows of no specific threat to the June 26 parade, an event in Chicago that has drawn as many as 1 million spectators in the past.

In the interview, Kirk also called on his re-election opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates, to testify at a trial in August that stems from her time as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs from 2006 to 2009.

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Two workers at a southern Illinois veterans home sued, saying they tried to raise ethical issues to Duckworth and were told to "do your job and keep your mouth shut."

"If she thinks she's innocent she should actually testify at her own trial," Kirk said.

A judge last month set an August trial date.

"She was putting politics ahead of her commendable record in support of veterans," Kirk said.

Duckworth has argued the case was dismissed in court before and has called Republicans' emphasis on it a political attack.

"Mark Kirk has no idea what he's talking about," Duckworth spokesman Matt McGrath said. "This is a civil workplace case that has stretched out over eight years and been dismissed in full or in part three different times -- and Tammy has complied at every step of the process."

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