Parades and fireworks return for fourth of July weekend, but arrest drama looms

Harvey police arrested Dixmoor treasurer and likely 2023 mayoral challenger Anthony McCaskill last weekend after responding to a report of illegal fireworks.

File photo. REUTERS / Adrees Latif
File photo. REUTERS / Adrees Latif

City officials will treat residents to a parade and fireworks show this Independence Day weekend, but the recent arrest of Dixmoor treasurer Anthony McCaskill will likely be in the minds of many.

Last weekend, Harvey police arrested McCaskill, who is expected to challenge Mayor Christopher J. Clark in next year’s mayoral race, after responding to a 911 call about illegal fireworks at a basketball court near the corner of 148th Street and Broadway Avenue.

McCaskill’s wife Kisha McCaskill, who serves as the Executive Director of the Harvey Park District, was also arrested. The park district was hosting its two-day Thornton all-alumni Wildcat Country Picnic at Gloria Taylor Hall, located near that intersection.

According to CBS2 Chicago, police officials said McCaskill was belligerent upon arrival, soon driving away. His wife also drove off in a separate vehicle. She was arrested due to reckless driving and refusing to stop, according to a police report.

McCaskill’s boss Dixmoor Village President Fitzgerald Roberts told CBS2 the arrest was politically motivated. “I believe it’s [a] political struggle to make someone look bad,” Roberts said.

McCaskill, who also serves as Dixmoor’s director of human resources and previously led the Harvey Park District, told CBS2 reporters “due to ongoing litigation,” he “can’t really say too much” about the incident. He is charged with four misdemeanors, including aggravated assault, resisting arrest, fireworks, and an ordinance violation.

McCaskill has not yet formally announced his candidacy for mayor and unsuccessfully ran against Clark in 2019.

Clark issued a statement to CBS2, saying he was disappointed in the McCaskill’s actions and how they treated Harvey police officers.

But Roberts said the incident doesn’t reflect McCaskill’s job performance in Dixmoor, and he isn’t worried about it. “McCaskill is doing a wonderful job here in the Village of Dixmoor, and fireworks does not have nothing to do with accounting,” Roberts told CBS2.

McCaskill will go to court over the incident in late July.

In the weeks leading up to the incident, several residents took to social media to call for a boycott of the city’s parade citing frustrations with a lack of transparency and a bismal response to stubborn gun violence in Harvey.

Both the mayor’s office and the park district will host Independence Day festivities Saturday.

A flyer for the park district's Independence Day event. Courtesy of the Harvey Park District Facebook page
A flyer for the park district's Independence Day event. Courtesy of the Harvey Park District Facebook page

The mayor’s office has planned a parade, including performances from the South Shore Drill Team and Jesse White Tumblers, followed by a fireworks show on 154th Street.

The parade route. Provided
The parade route. Provided

It is the first fourth of July parade since the Clark administration took office, however, the city held a fireworks show last summer. The parade will begin at 3pm sharp, kicking off on 153rd Street and South Page, turning east on 154th Street, eventually turning north on Broadway Avenue, where the fireworks show will take place. The event ends at 10pm.

The park district is hosting its seventh annual fourth of July event at Gloria Taylor Hall, the same location of last weekend’s incident, kicking off at noon and ending at 5pm. Harvey residents can enjoy free food, face painting, music, and an obstacle course.

Thornton Township officials were scheduled to host its Day in the Park pop-up event at Bryant Elementary School in Harvey Friday, but that was scheduled due to inclement weather, officials announced on Facebook Friday evening.

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