The Chicago Police Department has released information warning that three separate street gangs on the city’s Near West Side may be plotting to ambush and assassinate the city’s police officers.
Police say they discovered that members of the Vice Lords, Black Disciples, and Four Corner Hustlers met last Thursday to cooperate on the plot to kill officers after the city released police body cam video of the shooting of 18-year-old African-American robbery suspect Paul O’Neal.
It appears the Four Corner Hustlers pledged to provide the firearms and claimed it had a “sniper” ready to take out police officers on command. It is feared the Four Corners gang is also arranging to supply fully automatic weapons to the other two gangs if they promise to use the hardware to target police, according to Chicago’s local Fox affiliate.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi refused to relate any specific plans to respond to the threats, saying the department “does not comment on any security measures.”
But some reports say internal memos have told officers to “limit interactions and visibility” in the face of the threat.
The video of the shooting of the teen has again roiled the city’s communities against a police department still reeling from the release of several other such videos. O’Neal’s shooting is being called a “police execution” by some activists.
O’Neal was shot by Chicago police officers on July 28 when he was cornered after allegedly stealing a Jaguar. The teen was not armed when he was stopped and killed by police.
Since the incident, three of the officers involved in the shooting have had their police powers revoked pending an investigation into the shooting. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the officers violated department rules against firing at unarmed suspects.
Chicago’s mayor and one-time Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel backed the CPD Superintendent’s decision to suspend the officers but shied from making any wider proclamations about police policy. Rahm said he didn’t want to “jump to any conclusions” until the internal investigation was complete.
“Look, any time there’s a loss of life, it’s a tragedy in the city of Chicago, regardless of how that happened,” Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “So fundamentally, my heartfelt feeling is, if there’s a loss of life, it’s a loss for Chicago, and it’s a tragedy.”
But he went on, saying, “I don’t want to make any further judgment until they are concluded with their investigation, and I support the superintendent’s decision he made, on both getting the material out and the decision he’s made, and then we’ll all have the conclusion when the report’s done on whatever judgment.”
Chicago’s murder rate has soared 72 percent, with shootings up more than 88 percent over the high rate seen in 2015.
The city’s horrendous amount of bloodshed, though, is less about police-sponsored violence than it is black-on-black crime. In Chicago, 75 percent of all murder victims are black, while 71 percent of all killers are also black.
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