Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduces ordinance to allow Chicago to sue gang leaders

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Lightfoot introduces ordinance to allow city to sue gang leaders
Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced an ordinance that would allow the city to file civil lawsuits against Chicago gangs and their leaders.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she will continue to fight for an ordinance to go after the assets of gang members despite a temporary setback Tuesday. She said the city has a responsibility to protect residents threatened by violence tied to those gangs.

The ordinance was introduced Tuesday and was sent to the Rules Committee, where it's often said ordinances go to die. But Lightfoot expressed confidence that it will eventually pass, and she put gang members on notice.

"Put down the guns, stop the violence," Lightfoot said. "But if you choose to continue, then we will hold you accountable."

SEE ALSO | Former gang member discusses why young people turn to gangs

Lightfoot forged ahead with her plan to civilly go after what she called "well-organized gangs" that have a hierarchy to take the assets they have accumulated as a result of their criminal activity.

"If we stop trying, if we stop putting forth initiatives that will help reduce violence in this city, to protect our families, to protect our children, our seniors, then we fail you as a city council," said Ald. Chris Taliaferro, 29th Ward.

But the proposal has come under fire from other alderman and civil rights groups.

"There'll be a fight over every single one of these civil lawsuits that's filed," said Ed Yohnka, with ACLU of Illinois. "None of this will end up being effective in addressing the violence."

"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," said Ald. Rossanna Rodriguez Sanchez, 33rd Ward.

The mayor said the city would go after gang assets such as cash, cars and property bought with laundered money. She said they have a responsibility to the people of Chicago to combat violent gangs in any way they can.

"We have to push back against these violent criminal gangs and we have to take their blood money that they are profiting from, killing our children our elders and others," Lightfoot said.