South Side pastor who backs Bruce Rauner has church broken into

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Corey Brooks, a South Side pastor featured in an ad endorsing Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, says he’s moved his family from his home while police investigate an overnight burglary of his church, as well as threatening derogatory phone calls he received which claim he’ll be beaten for being Rauner’s “puppet.”

On Saturday, Brooks rushed to the New Beginnings Church of Chicago after a maintenance employee found the church’s back doors shattered and an estimated $8,000 stolen from a glass charity box, meant to build a community center across from the church.

Police say they were notified of the burglary at 6620 S. King Dr. about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Pastor Corey Brooks looks into where $8,000 was stolen from his New<br>Beginnings Church overnight. | Richard A.<br>Chapman/Sun-Times

Pastor Corey Brooks looks into where $8,000 was stolen from his New
Beginnings Church overnight. | Richard A.

“The death threats seem to be related to Bruce Rauner,” Brooks said at the church Saturday. “They say his name as well as mine and most of the references were in response to me in support of him. So it’s really derogatory, real racial, a lot of homophobic words. It’s real life threatening.”

Brooks said he received the five phone calls on Friday. He recorded one of them, and provided it to police. In that call, which was played for the Sun-Times, a man’s voice is disguised via a high-pitched filter. He is heard calling Brooks a “token n—–.”

“We on you boy, we on you. And you ain’t got nobody that can stop us, nobody. Who you go [to] the deacons? They can’t stop us. We going to beat your fat a– in front of your mama congregation Sunday. Yeah we going to steal the sheep of the hypocrite. You’s a hypocrite we going to beat your fat a– in front of your own congregation. Who you got that…f— we going to beat their a– too. They can’t protect you. You sell out you Uncle Tom a– n—–. You token. You a puppet for Bruce Rauner you puppet n—– a–. P—- a– n—–,” the voice says on the recording.

Brooks said he believes his family is in danger, which prompted him to move to a temporary home until the threats are investigated.

“It was enough to want to move my family. Any time people threatening your life, and you know if it were just me, I maybe would just say whatever. But when you mention my family, you mention our church. Things like that, I have to take it seriously,” Brooks said.

A group of Chicago area black ministers, including Brooks, announced last month they’d support Rauner in the campaign. Brooks is featured in a Rauner ad which began airing two weeks ago on some channels, including BET. It began airing on network channels on Friday: “I believe it’s really time to change things up in the state of Illinois, especially on the South Side,” Brooks says in the commercial. He says he supports Rauner because he believes the Democratic party has taken advantage of African-Americans and hasn’t provided enough help for impoverished communities.

Brooks says the burglary isn’t going to stop church services, and the fundraising needed to build the community center. He also said he does not preach about his support for Rauner during his services.

“We’re not going to be deterred. We’re going to continue to do the things that we’ve done. We’re not going to be intimidated. We’re not going to let the tactics of some people turn us away from supporting Bruce and I’m not going to let the tactics of some people stop us from worshipping,” Brooks said.

A Rauner campaign spokeswoman was at the church Saturday. She said Rauner will appear at the church on Sunday for services and a press conference.

Brooks on Saturday tweeted about the harassment: “The death threats and phone calls are politically motivated our church in 14 yrs has never been broke into u do the math,” Brooks tweeted.

He also tweeted that he has moved his family to a safe house because of the alleged death threats.

“This message goes out to all the haters I am not going to be afraid nor am I going to back down for what I believe #ignorance,” Brooks tweeted.


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