03 September 2010

Chicago Gang Press Conference: Bringing back the 1960s

I knew the latest press conference fad from Chicago street gangs wasn't anything new (pay-per-view archive).

Patriots. and Young Lords- three Chicago street gangs- held a joint press conference last night and urged an end of the violence. Chicago Tribune, 4 April 1969
Granted, that was the anniversary of the murder of Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior, but Chicago street gangs have a long history of holding press conferences. Check Google news for the 1960s.

This week, the new version sounds a lot like the old version. Lots of "give me something or I will keep taking and killing" talk. Here is the 21st century version: 

Gang members hold press conference on West Side

By John Dempsey and Monica DeSantis
CHICAGO (WLS) - A group of current and former gang members called reporters to a news conference Thursday morning on the West Side.
Our John Dempsey was there.
TV cameras from every station in town were there attending a news conference called by gang bangers, including Jim Allen.
"Yes, I am a current member of the Vice Lords Nation. I do not stand down from that. There's a difference between a gang member and gang banger. I'm not a gang banger. Gang bangers are the guys on Wall Street that drove us into a recession," Allen said.
One man, Mark Carter, tried to equate street violence with City Hall corruption.
"They can point out what they perceive as wrong that's going on in our community, we can point the wrong that's going on right in City Hall. Is the mayor going to be held accountable for all the corruption that's happening under his watch," Carter said.
The men denounced police superintendent Jody Weis for threatening gang leaders when he met with them recently but they also denounced anyone who criticized Weis for holding the meetings in the first place.
Professor David Kennedy Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York has been working with Chicago to have dialogues with gang members.
Kennedy told the Cisco Cotto Show on Thursday that the lion's share of violence in cities like Chicago comes from gang and drug crews.  Those on probation or parolees meet with police officials and then carry a message back to gang leaders in their group.  In the meeting they hear three things:
- They hear people they respect in their own community say "we care about you and the violence needs to stop."  Which can be very effective.
- They are given a phone number they can call to get all kinds of social services help if they want it.  Education, job training, job placement and that kind of thing.
- Law enforcement says this is not a negotiation.  We are not asking. And once you leave this meeting and go back to your group tell them that the next group in the area that kills somebody all the attention we can direct to them we will.  Meaning outstanding warrants, drug, weapons and parole violations will be looked at very closely and strictly enforced.
Kennedy says violence will drop dramatically when the streets believe dire consequences await to everyone in their group if they're part of a shooting.
The Roe & Roper podcast page does not list any that have clips of the gang members, yet. They have been playing interesting clips yesterday and today.

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