Chicago leaders have no real plan for tackling downtown youth violence

The now infamous violent youth riot in downtown Chicago last weekend got me thinking about press conferences back in 2010.

Mayor Richard M. Daley voiced frustration about what he said was a large group of suburban children causing trouble on Chicago's lakefront, even though many Chicago children also participated, including six teenagers who brutally assaulted an 18-year-old suburban woman. Daley complained that the youths would text each other to arrange their mess.

Three years later, downtown's problems with unexpected group violence have not improved. So then-Gov. “inciting organized mob violence.”

“We don't want flash mobs to harm anyone, anywhere, especially where a lot of people are from other states, other countries,” Quinn said. The tough measures they promised never materialized. However, the increased sentence is still within state law.

Illinois also has a law on its books since 1969 known as the Parental Responsibility Act. Parents and guardians can be sued for “actual damages for the willful or malicious act of the minor causing injury to a person or property.” Damage can be recovered up to $20,000. Laws are rarely used.

Ed Yohnka at the Illinois ACLU told me that his group “unaware of certain constitutional deficiencies” with the law and the courts “has long recognized that an individual can be held responsible for the actions of another person under certain legal relationships, and recognizes the authority of the state legislature to make parents are responsible for the unlawful acts of their young children.”

Yohnka did say the law was “bad policy”, in part because poor parents would be hurt the most. “Many of these families are struggling to make ends meet in communities that lack the services and resources that help support strong families.”

States and cities also spend millions of dollars a year, and plan to spend much more, on violence prevention programs. In the past, violent bullies have described being overwhelmed by the sheer number of young people who broke the law during flash mobs or fads or whatever you want to call it.

Last week, we heard almost nothing from anyone in the sector about how they helped during the weekend of violence or how they might help in the future if properly deployed.

In 2019, WBEZ actually came out and spoke to some of the kids which caused some disruption. Young people understandably complain that the parks and recreational facilities in their own neighborhoods on the South and West sides are old.

“There's usually vandalism on the swings, on the slides, there's usually broken materials… there's trash, and there's a lot of people asking,” according to Tyrianna Rodgers, who was on a “girls' afternoon” downtown at the time. “It doesn't look like a place where you'd send your kids and say OK, ‘You can chill here.'” Four years later, many of the facilities are still a disgrace.

Public radio stations also reported at the time that Chicago police were boasting about their ability to monitor the online organization of what are now called “trends,” which the station defined as “large youth-led gatherings that are very popular with black teens.”

However, CBS 2 reported last week that the Chicago Police Department had no idea how the mob violence was orchestrated. And credible reports have emerged since then of police ignoring calls for help.

There are actually two points here. The first is all the tough people pretending that violence is something new and mysterious and the new test for the mayor-elect who hasn't even been sworn in yet really has to catch his breath.

The second is that law enforcement and local leaders have been given many legal, investigative and deterrence tools (and there are more than listed above) to deal with this problem, but those leaders seem to have let those tools just slip away. drawer somewhere.

Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) is absolutely right when he complains that no one has a plan for dealing with violence and no one has had a real plan since he was a teenager.

“That must change!” Buckner rightly roared on social media.

Yes, right. And it starts with the people who are authorized to do their actual work.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political bulletin, and

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