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SNEED EXCLUSIVE: Priest protests bank’s ‘discriminatory’ double doors

The Rev. Michael Pfleger is refusing to call off a planned anti-violence protest to close down the Dan Ryan Expressway on July 7. | Sun-Times files

Open the door!

Please.

Watch for activist priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger to lead a protest Friday morning at the Fifth Third Bank & ATM at 8140 S. Ashland to throw down the gauntlet on what he considers a discriminatory practice.

• The target: The bank’s entrance doors.

“This bank has chosen to impede patrons in two African-American communities in Chicago from access to their banks by installing a discriminatory double-door entry system.

OPINION

“These types of entrances have also led to several community elders and handicapped persons being briefly trapped inside those double doors,” Pfleger told Sneed.

“It becomes a discriminatory trap,” he said.

“And it is outrageous. These bank doors exist not only in our Auburn Gresham neighborhood but at 1606 East 79th Street in South Shore, which is also an African-American neighborhood.

“This is not only a highly stressful and discriminating system,” Pfleger told Sneed, “but the only bank in our neighborhood that employs this system!”

The entrance to the Fifth Third Bank at 8140 S. Ashland.
The entrance to the Fifth Third Bank at 8140 S. Ashland.

• Translation: Pfleger claims patrons entering the bank are locked in a box between two doors “which makes many people feel trapped and anxious” until a green light triggers the second door to open — which lets them enter the bank, said Pfleger.

“Yet this bank uses regular, simple bank doors in Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park, but not in our neighborhood,” he added.

“What is telling is that other banks in our neighborhood like Chase Bank, Bank of America and Citibank do not employ these kinds of discriminatory entranceways!

“And if the Fifth Third Bank in our neighborhood is doing this due to safety concerns, statistics show that likely bank robberies take place in downtown and suburban banks,” Pfleger said.

“What we want is the stereotypical bank entranceway used in most American communities!

“In fact, news reports claim there have been four bank robberies in recent weeks and they’ve all been in the suburbs.”

• The flip side: “We do this for the safety of our customers and employees,” said Andrew Hayes, head of corporate communications with Fifth Third Bank.

“We have had five robberies over the last few years, so we have developed a system using factual statistics based on the crime rate — not just an arbitrary system, to look at each and every community.

“We have reduced the robberies where those doors are located. And these doors aren’t just in African-American communities, they are in our branches in Evanston and Oak Park,” he said.

“Our obligation is to protect our clients!”

Pfleger claims the protest will be joined by State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (16th District), Carlos Nelson, executive director of The Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corp., and members of the community to demand that Fifth Third Bank either remove the double lock/green light entrance doors at their banks in African-American communities or install them at all of their branches.

The Chicago way!

Sneed hears that after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary caused a stir by proclaiming that Chicago deep dish is better than New York pizza, Mayor Rahm Emanuel followed up with a personal touch so that de Blasio would understand that Chicago pizza is indeed #1.

Emanuel sent DeBlasio a large deep dish “Numero Uno” pizza, complete with sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers and mushrooms.

Here’s the kicker.

Even though this pizzeria doesn’t do their own deliveries, the Chicago restaurant volunteered to send the pizza over to New York City Hall via cab!

How’s that for a special delivery?

Sneedlings . . .

I spy: Emmy award-winning actress and Chicago native Lena Waithe recently spotted dining at Gibsons on Rush. . . . Actress Valerie Bertinelli at Gibsons in Rosemont. . . . Today’s birthdays: RuPaul, 57; Rachel McAdams, 39; and Martin Scorsese, 75.