CPD warns of threat against officers by West Side gangs

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
CPD warns of threat against officers
Chicago police officers are being warned about a security threat involving possible attacks by gangs on the city's West Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police officers are being warned about a security threat involving possible attacks by gangs on the city's West Side.

ABC7 has obtained a warning that the department sent out to every police officer on Friday.

The warning described a summit between senior West Side gang members in which they "agreed to use automatic weapons against Chicago police officers." The alert also said one gang provided guns and placed a sniper at an unknown location.

"What you're going to do is see officers backing each other up. They've been riding two deep ever since we've had incidents in Dallas and Louisiana," said Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo.

The threat came on the same day as the release of videos related to the police shooting of Paul O'Neal, an unarmed 18 year old.

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement commenting on the threat to police:

"There are 12,500 men and women who wake up every day, put on a uniform, hug their families, and leave their houses to spend their day protecting our families and our neighborhoods. Our city asks officers to step into harm's way to protect us and our communities. We need to support them, work with them, and never forget their dedication to doing an incredibly dangerous job and doing it well. We can have a reasonable conversation about the need for police accountability reform, but the idea that a bunch of gang members would threaten violence against the men and women every Chicagoan relies on for their own safety is absolutely unacceptable."

The head of the police union blames fiery rhetoric and a rush to judgement for the climate officers now find themselves in. One national group, SolveACrime.com, is offering a $250,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction of someone intent on harming police officers.

"There are citizens in Chicago with that information who may not want to disclose it, but that's what the incentive is for," said Dario Brebric of SolveACrime.com.

A CPD spokesperson declined to comment on any specific threat and said it's routine practice for officer safety alerts to be disseminated by districts concerning any potential threats to police. Angelo said it's not uncommon for police to receive those safety alerts.

"No, it's happened before and we just hope nothing happens in Chicago," Angelo said.

In 2015 the FBI tipped police about a similar threat to shoot officers after they left work. That alert was issued shortly after the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.