Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city will start taking legal action against gang members to “take their assets” in an effort to curb violence.
On Monday (Sept. 13), Lightfoot proposed the ordinance, which will allow the city’s lawyers to file such litigations. A similar strategy has already been in place in the suburbs for the last 20 years, but has earned mixed results. Attorneys have used the Illinois Street Gang Prevention Act to sue gang members, seeking financial damages, court orders blocking them from associating with each other and possessing firearms.
“We can’t wait for anybody else,” the mayor said.
“We have an opportunity to bring these violent street gangs into civil court, out of the shadows, expose them for what they are — and, if we’re successful, and I think we will be, take their assets and the profit motive for killing our babies,” she added. “We have to put a marker down that we are using every tool in our toolkit to push back against these violent gangs that are leaving a trail of blood and death and misery in their wake.”
According to police, over Labor Day weekend, more than 60 people were shot in Chicago, including 8 children. Of the six of the victims who were killed, a 4-year-old boy was fatally shot while getting his hair done inside an apartment. Angela Gregg, the boy’s mom, told the Chicago Tribune that she didn’t know a motive, “but we just know our baby is not supposed to lose his life at 4 years old, and somebody needs to step up and say something.”
Counterterrorism Chief Ernest Cato said the departments would be “laser-focused” on narcotics and gangs in the city during a crime press conference on Monday. “We know in our city that we have a hard, large issue with gang conflicts and open narcotics areas,” Cato said, adding, “Our focus will be the gangs in this city to help reduce the violence.”
More details about the the plan will become available on Tuesday (Sept. 14).