Chicago May Start Suing Gang Members For Damages

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago is poised to embark on a new strategy to attack the gangs that are responsible for much of the gun violence in the city: Sue them to take their belongings.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she'll introduce on Monday an ordinance that would allow the city to file lawsuits to go after gang members' assets, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Prosecutors in suburban counties have for years been doing something similar by employing the Illinois Street Gang Prevention Act to sue gang members for monetary damages.

But attorney John Mauck, who successfully defended four men against in such a lawsuit in Kane County, says that most of the hundreds of such lawsuits over the years have failed to collect any monetary damages from gang members.

But as the number of shootings and homicides in Chicago continues to surge, Lightfoot says the city must do everything it can to battle the gangs that have killed and wounded so many.

“We have an opportunity to bring these violent street gangs into civil court, out of the shadows, expose them for what they are," she said. “And if we’re successful, and I think we will be, take their assets and the profit motive for killing our babies.”