Cops question teen in drive-by shooting

July 13, 2012 (CHICAGO)

CeaseFire accompanied 18-year-old Jermaine Lewis, his attorney and family as he met with Chicago police.

"I cannot say whether he is innocent or guilty," said Bob Jackson of the Roseland CeaseFire. "We just want to make sure there is no retaliation on his life today."

Detectives wanted to talk about a Tuesday night drive-by shooting that wounded two young girls. One of the victims, Tishona Polk, is recovering. The other victim is also doing better.

"I'm very happy that Jermaine has turned himself in because it's the right thing to do," said Mildred Shorter, Polk's mother.

While one family is relieved with the surrender, another family is hoping for the best. Lewis' family insists he is innocent.

"This is an unfortunate case of mistaken identity," said Lewis' attorney, Carl Boyd. "We are here to clear up any misconceptions pertaining to Mr. Jermaine Lewis."

Lewis has not been charged. Police are just talking to him, calling him a person of interest.

For the first time Friday, CeaseFire employees will be paid by the City of Chicago to fight crime. A million dollar contract kicks in.

With this new contract with the city, CeaseFire will pay 24 people in the group to focus on mediating gang conflicts and changing violent behaviors in two police districts on the city's West and Southeast sides. The Roseland neighborhood CeaseFire will not be getting that funding, but its spokesperson who helped organize the surrender says that he is still on board with stopping the violence.

"We're working the CeaseFire model which is intervention, outreach, canvassing," Jackson said. "That's what we've been doing and we'll continue. The money helps us put more bodies on the street, help curb this violence."

"We're giving a million dollars of taxpayer money to people that claim they are no longer gangbangers," said Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields. "How can we really prove that?"

Shields also said the million dollars should be used to put more officers on the street instead of going to CeaseFire, saying that in the last year, more than 1,000 officers have either retired or left the force. Since then, only 150 officers have been hired.

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