Wallace "Gator" Bradley, Urban Translator
Gang Leaders Want Jobs...Say gangs aren't the problem.
Today, veteran community activists Mark S. Allen and Wallace "Gator" Bradley will continue to reach out to new CAPS Director Ronald
Holt and others to find a way to form some immediate communications to find out what is at the bottom of what is being reported as
"Gang Members Targeting Police Officers." If President Obama can meet with world leaders trying to find peace on the world stage
to stop the violence, then we have got to be able to the local level to meet with street leaders and other street sources to stop whatever
is causing this type of tension that can result in the direct targeting of police for violent acts and now death.
We as a community cannot just watch these tensions continue to boil and NO ONE steps up to at least trying to figure out what is
causing this and do what we can to quell this to save the lives of many innocent people as well as our law enforcement. WE can't go
back to the days when the comments of a former Chicago Police Chief who stated that he now runs "the biggest gang in Chicago,"
and how far that may have gone in planting the seed that there was now war to be fought directly with gangs and police! Far too many
people in gangs and the streets are only acting out their economic desperation, and the answer simply CANNOT be the ambusing and
violent acts against the police. We reach ouit to Ronald Holt because he brings a new level of trust where people in the street trust in
him and will communicate with him in ways that they will not communicate with Police Chief Weis. '
(Mark S. Allen, 312-624-8351 or cell 773-392-0165)
It was billed as a response to Jody Weis' trick meeting with gang leaders.
But the controversial gang press conference turned out to be an impassioned plea for jobs and opportunities for former gang members
and inmates who say they can't find work.
The event, which took place at 5701 W. Jackson Boulevard on Chicago's West Side was organized by former gang enforcer Wallace
'Gator" Bradley, who was at the meeting with Weis, and community activist Jim Allen, a "free and accepted Almighty Minister" of the
Vice Lords Nation.
He and other self-described "gang leaders" said threats from law enforcement officials will not stem the violence on the streets, only
good paying jobs can do that.
"They say its about gangs, guns and drugs," Allen said. "We say it's about jobs, opportunities and contracts."
"All we're saying here is, 'Can you help us?' Stop putting the money in Iraq. Stop putting the money if Afghanistan. The war is right here.
We heard you. Let these men get some work," added Akeem Berry Sr.
Those holding rainy press conference said the threats won't change the behaviors of young gang members.
"They're giving us an ultimatum to "quit" instead of offering an alternative," said Berry.
Other gang leaders expressed a measure of pride in their affiliations and said gangs are not the cause of the violence: drugs are.
"You keep saying gang violence. It's drug-related. It's not gang-related. It's drug-related," said Berry.
The news conference was criticized by the family members of those killed by violence and by anti-violence groups, including Fr. Michael
Pfleger of St. Sabina's Church.
Mayor Richard Daley, speaking at another event, said that everyone has a right to free speech.
"It's America. You can complain about anything," he said.
Late last month Police Supt. Jody Weis held a clandestine meeting with a number of gang leaders. During the meeting, Weis told the
leaders his department would begin to pursue RICO statues against gang members who use violence against one another.
RICO statutes allow for law enforcement officials to seize property, including vehicles and real estate, belonging to suspects. It was
originally used to take down Mafia affiliates.
Similar meetings have paid dividends in about 60 communities around the country.
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