I-Team Report: The Avenger of 'K-Town'

June 13, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Videos began popping up on YouTube last month that show drugs being sold and used right out in the open on West Side streets; day and night; by men and women; with sellers and buyers easily recognizable on screen.

The I-Team has found the man who is making the videos - the avenger of "K Town."

David Muhammed, 57, is a retired CTA repairman. Now he's trying to fix his neighborhood. For years it has been the home of curb-service crack cocaine and heroin. A six-by-seven block patch just north of the Eisenhower Expressway from Karlov to Kilpatrick avenues is K Town.

"I'm over here living in hell with open drug selling," said Muhammed.

As Chicago drug gang violence has produced sharp increases in shootings and murders this year, K Town has had its share of bloodshed.

A few months ago, Muhammed says there was a turning point when a drug dealer began selling right in front of his home and a nearby church.

"I asked him not to sell drugs right across the street from the church, he pulled a knife out and threatened to shoot me or fire bomb my building if I said anything else to him," said Muhammed.

Those were fighting words to Muhammed, who grew up with 10 brothers and sisters in Chicago public housing. As a member of the Nation of Islam, he says his faith is non-violent, and so is his weaponry hidden up on the second floor of his building behind the crack in the blinds.

"I decided to buy a camera and start filming them because I felt they had too much power in the community," he said. "You only live once, I live here and I'm going to defend this at all cost."

The video he has shot shows how the transactions work. Cars, many with suburban stickers or out of state plates pull over and someone takes their order. A short time later the delivery is made and the cash is handed over and counted.

It is so commonplace that on a random afternoon an I-Team video crew saw the same kind of curb service under way.

Goudie: "Have you taken your videos to the police?
Muhammed: No, I haven't because I've called so many times about the problem and that's why I went public ... I don't understand why I can see all of this stuff and they [police] can't.

About three weeks ago he began posting the videos on YouTube including one from last week showing some of the horrific neighborhood violence that accompanies drug dealing.

"He does capture, unfortunately, a problem that does exist in the 11th District and narcotics has been an issue that as a police dept we have struggled with for years," said Dep. Chief John Escalante, Chicago Police North Area. "We would like to be able to use some of what he is posting to help some of our investigations if we can get his support to work more closely with the 11th District."

"We need all the help we can get," said Commander Eric Washington, 11th Chicago Police District. "This gentleman, I personally have never met him but I am willing to work with everybody and anybody in the district."

"You have these folks actually selling heroin and cocaine right out on the streets of the city of Chicago and the police know it," said Alderman Michael Chandler, 24th Ward. "I'm the alderman, I know it. I call the police hoping they will do their jobs. Many times they tell me they don't have the manpower."

Police officials disagree with Alderman Chandler and say in the past year they have added manpower to investigate K-Town street dealers, pointing to seven narcotics missions aimed at dismantling whole drug organizations and resulting in dozens of arrests.

But those take time, and David Muhammed says he's not willing to wait.

"I'm just going to keep posting these videos and hopefully I can shame them into doing the right thing," he said. "I know that I'm putting my life on the line but somebody has to do it. Somebody has to do this."

Muhammed has five grown children, all of whom he says have told him simply to be careful. At first the I-Team was hesitant to identify him for his own safety, but Muhammed himself is insistent that people know who is and what he is doing. That's why he has posted the videos on YouTube.

David Muhammed's YouTube videos:

Main Chicago Police website

11th District Chicago Police website

24th Ward Ald. David Chandler website

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