Interview: Pro-Life Counselor Says She was Threatened with Gun by Off-Duty Officer
By Kathleen Gilbert
AURORA, Illinois, December 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A sidewalk counselor with the Pro-Life Action League has filed a report against an off-duty Chicago police officer, whom she says pulled a gun on her when she approached him and his female companion before they entered Aurora's Planned Parenthood clinic Wednesday morning.
Rachelle Crile of Naperville said that the incident occurred around 9 am, after she had gone back into her car to warm up from witnessing outside the abortion facility. There, she says, she noticed a man and woman in another vehicle pulling up and parking nearby.
Since the couple had not entered the Planned Parenthood parking lot, she says, she was unsure whether to approach with pro-life literature - but decided to give it a try after a brief prayer.
"I didn't want to be sitting there a couple spots away and then see them drive over there, and I could have offered them something that could possibly change their lives and save her from the horror of abortion, and save the child," Crile told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) Wednesday evening.
As she approached with literature, she said she saw the driver: "He had a gun, and he lifted it up, pointing it at me, looking at me," said Crile. "Obviously he was trying to send me a message."
Crile said she raised her arms and backed away to her car, and the driver and his female passenger entered the Planned Parenthood building.
Aurora Police spokesman Dan Ferrelli told the Naperville Sun there were no charges issued because the driver's story conflicted with Crile's, but claimed both Aurora and Chicago police were investigating the matter. The off-duty officer claimed he had flashed his badge at Crile, not a gun.
Police refused to release the officer's name to Crile or reporters.
Rachelle said on Wednesday evening that she was still shaken by the event. "I would know the difference between a gun and a badge," she said. "Why would I be scared of a badge?" Crile said she planned to pursue charges with the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.
"As far as my future sidewalk counseling, I will get back out there, but, you know, it's obviously something that you'd have to think about," she said.
Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League said that, while the League has had issues with individuals among the Chicago police force before, Wednesday's incident was unique.
"We've had threats, we've had cars swerving at people, we've even had arrests for some of that kind of stuff, but we've never had anything like this before, a gun being pulled on somebody," Scheidler told LSN.
Scheidler said Crile began training in sidewalk counseling in September, and called her "a very unassuming, very humble, sweet person, the least threatening person I think you can imagine." He called it "particularly troubling" that the incident happened with Crile.
"That's always a concern with something like this happening, that people would be afraid to get involved, and sometimes it does have a negative impact on involvement," he said. "But other times, it makes people feel like getting more involved. You never know."