CHICAGO – Police in Chicago are taking their battle against gang violence to church and even the cemetery.
"The police are going to treat gang funerals as a gang event and people will be, appropriately, checked and patted down," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday.
An exasperated Emanuel said the increased police presence is justified because gang leaders have shown "no respect for a place of worship" and for the neighborhoods where the funerals take place.
Last week, a reputed gang member was shot to death on the steps of a South Side church after the funeral of another man. At the gang member's funeral this week, dozens of officers – some armed with assault rifles – were assigned to monitor the event.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the violence has been an ongoing problem.
"I can't believe we have to stand here and have this conversation, but the fact is, it's unacceptable and we're not going to let it go on," McCarthy said.
Alderman Matt O'Shea supports efforts to crack down on gang funeral violence, which has plagued his South Side neighborhood.
"We've had shots fired into the air. Offenders fleeing police and throwing loaded guns out of cars. High-speed chases down our side streets. We've had altercations where people attending gang funerals have verbally assaulted residents," O'Shea said.
"What these gangbangers are doing is inexcusable," he said. "It's got to stop to protect the residents of my community."