‘Dread Head Cowboy’ gallops onto Dan Ryan, now faces charges; horse taken into custody

Adam Hollingsworth, who snarled traffic during rush hour, said on Facebook live that he was making the point that “kids lives matter.”

SHARE ‘Dread Head Cowboy’ gallops onto Dan Ryan, now faces charges; horse taken into custody

Adam Hollingsworth, known as the “Dread Head Cowboy,” posted video of himself riding his horse on the Dan Ryan Monday.


Chicago’s well-known “Dread Head Cowboy” rode his brown and white horse onto the Dan Ryan Expressway on Monday, snarling traffic in the middle of rush hour.

The man, who’s real name is Adam Hollingsworth, posted video of his ride on Facebook live, which was also captured by news helicopters. In his posts, Hollingsworth — who has ridden his horse to multiple civil rights protests this summer — says “I shut down the Dan Ryan! Kids lives matter!”

The horseman trotted onto the local lanes about 4:20 p.m. near 63rd Street, Illinois State Police said.

Video posted by ABC7 shows the horse galloping in the right lanes of the highway, surrounded by motorcycles. Later, a Chicago Police squad car can be seen driving slowly along side of the horse.

Later, the man can be seen riding the horse up an exit ramp, which police said was 95th Street. As he comes off the expressway, several police cars could be seen waiting for him.

Hollingsworth was charged with misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer and criminal trespass to state supported property, state police said.

Another man, 55-year-old Darron Luster, was arrested for obstructing and resisting arrest, state police said. He allegedly tried to gain control of the horse and didn’t let it go when officers asked him to.

Both men were taken to Chicago Police District 5 Headquarters, state police said.

The horse was taken in by Chicago police about 5:20 p.m., according to News Affairs officer Anthony Spicuzza. It will be taken to Animal Care and Control, Spicuzza said.

“He shouldn’t have been on a horse on the expressway,” a spokesperson for the state police said.

On Sept. 9, Hollingsworth met with state and Chicago police about a planned protest on the Dan Ryan expressway, state police said. His request was denied since authorities said it was dangerous and illegal.

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In his Facebook videos, Hollingsworth could be seen bouncing atop his horse with a line of cars following closely behind.

In another video, Hollingsworth appears to be sitting in the back seat of a vehicle with his hands behind his back. A third video appears to show him handcuffed to a bench in a room at an unknown location.

He did not respond to calls to his cell phone Monday evening.

In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office described the incident as a “stunt” that endangered the horse and others on the expressway.

“There is a right way and a wrong way to call attention to issues of great importance and this stunt was decidedly the very wrong way,” the statement said.

The horse was injured, and will be taken to a temporary shelter by Chicago Animal Care and Control for treatment, the statement said. State police said it was bleeding from one hoof, and another was injured. The right side of the horse’s body had sores from the saddle, according to state police.

Earlier this year, Lightfoot teamed up with Hollingsworth to promote the U.S. Census. Hollingsworth was brought in to ride through South and West Side wards where census responses were lowest in the city.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” greets a Chicago Police officer as he rides his horse Prince in the Loop

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as The Dreadhead Cowboy, greets a Chicago Police officer as he rides his horse Prince in the Loop, Tuesday afternoon, June 16, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

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