At a news conference organized by self-identified gang members Thursday morning, several speakers complained that police and city officials do not respect them, and that the only way to curb violence is to provide jobs and improve their community.
The self-described current and former gang members held a news conference at the Columbus Park Refectory, at 5701 W. Jackson Blvd. on the city’s West Side.
“You say it’s gangs, drugs and guns. We say we need jobs, opportunities and contracts,” said Reginald Akeem Berry Sr., who identified himself as a former gang member. “That’s the resolution.”
They are taking issue with police Supt. Jody Weis’ strategy of meeting with gang leaders and warning them of serious consequences if violence continues.
Weis held a meeting with the reputed leaders of several West Side gangs at the Garfield Park Conservatory over the weekend. At the meeting, prosecutors warned that the gang members could be charged under the federal racketeering laws if killings were traced back to gangs with members attending the meeting.
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