A plan to help reduce violence by gangs in the city of Chicago calls to sue gang members and take their assets. The ordinance was introduced by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Sept. 14, and sent to the City Council Rules Committee, where similar ordinances have died in the past.
“What we are proposing is a tool in civil courts that gives us the opportunity to go after those gangs that are wreaking havoc and, in particular, take away the profit motive from them by seizing assets that they have been able to purchase because of their violent activity in our neighborhoods,” Mayor Lightfoot said on Friday, Sept. 10.
“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,” she said.
The ordinance will be similar to the Illinois Street Gang Prevention Act, intended to penalize and deter gang violence, which has been employed in some of Chicago’s suburban counties. The proposed ordinance comes as gang violence continues to spiral out of control in the city, law enforcement officials would be able to sue gang members for damage they inflict and seize their assets, including guns, cars, jewelry and money.
“We can’t wait for anybody else,” Lightfoot said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “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.”
Police said gangs, guns and drugs are fueling the violence that is ongoing in Chicago. About 261 children have been shot in Chicago since the start of 2020 and 41 have died, Fox News reported. However, local civil rights groups and aldermen have criticized the ordinance, ABC7 reported. “There’ll be a fight over every single one of these civil lawsuits that’s filed,” Ed Yohnka of ACLU of Illinois said. “None of this will end up being effective in addressing the violence.”
Similar ordnances used in suburbs have produced mixed results. Gang members may be taken to court but their assets are rarely seized. Rossanna Rodriguez Sanchez, alderman, 33rd Ward, criticized the ordinance.
“We believe that ordinance is just a PR move right now, so the administration can say that they are doing something about crime, but the reality is it’s not going to change much,” she said.
The measure must be approved by Chicago’s City Council before it becomes a law.
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Author: The Black Detour Team