Saturday, October 17, 2009

Violence Flares (Again) In Lawrence/Sheridan Area Friday

We're probably going to be accused, again, of making a big deal out of nothing and of being "political enemies" -- but this is not "nothing" and it's not okay and it's not something that should be tolerated in Uptown, or anywhere else, for that matter.

First, another gang street fight took place early Friday evening, as noted in the Positive Loitering post below. For some reason, the gangs (in this case, the Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords) believe they have the riot to commit mayhem over "turf," even though they don't own an inch of it and their names appear nowhere except in their scrawled tags on other people's property. UU readers sent photos and reports:

"[At 5:04] This was the scene at Leland and Sheridan 5 minutes ago. Police response was very quick, including a paddy wagon and ambulance. Gang bangers scattered all directions quickly once cops arrived."

"I was crossing Lawrence on Sheridan and was caught literally in the middle of a gang fight at around 5:20. I called 911, several others were too. I hid in an alcove on Lawrence. Crazy, crazy times."

Then it escalated:

"Dude was beaten unconscious on Sheridan about 25 ft west of Lawrence around 6pm, tonight. It was still light out. Guys running everywhere. I split when a cop pulled his gun."

And then it escalated some more, into gun violence:

"Just hours after our positive loitering event tonight, several rounds were fired near Lawrence and Sheridan, the very corner where we stood. A gun was recovered and arrests were reportedly made. Gang violence is flaring up again in our neighborhood. Be safe. I also took the attached photos of the scene. The most disturbing photo is the bullet dent above the Lawrence House window. Any one of us could have been in the path of that bullet."

"I was walking home from a friend's house tonight. I was at Sheridan/Lawrence at 1040pm and all of a sudden I heard a round of gunshots. All of a sudden cops everywhere and I finally got to Kenmore and they were running down Kenmore with their guns cocked. Anybody know what happened? I live in on Winthrop and Lawrence.... Lately there are gangbangers hanging out on my street. This has just started happening in the last month."

A very frustrating and frightening situation. We're not sure what the law-abiding stakeholders of Uptown -- and that includes people of every economic situation and walk of life -- can do to assert control of our streets and our community from thugs who feel they have the right to riot and shoot here. The cops are as sick of it as we are. What can be done to get the bad guys out? Because they've officially worn out their welcome and it's time for them to GO.


  1. Last night around 10:50 I could see police searching back stairwells and roof tops with flashlights. This was all west of Sheridan and south of Lawrence.

    I wonder how long Shiller is going to take to respond to this incident or is it kids just being kids playing with knives and guns.

  2. There was craziness around Winthrop and Lawrence as well. I'm wondering if this was carried over from the Leland episode. Around 5:45 there was a gathering on around the parking lot at Winthrop and Lawrence with about 15 bangers. They pushed a cop who was trying to intervene. A chase among the bangers ensued and they beat the crap out of a guy right in the Lawrence L stop turnstyles. Police came right away but they all fled.

  3. Life is easy when you live on a nice street that's not even your own ward.

  4. Can somebody post a concise list of the names, phone numbers and email addresses of the various reporters who should be made aware of these incidents?

  5. Gotta love that Uptown culture!

    I noticed that there are lots of vacant storefronts right in this area as well, which is a shame. I really love uptown, but have a newborn and am frankly afraid to go outside right now.

  6. You know what would make this violence go away?

    Let's concentrate institutional residence buldings in this area. And let's make sure there is a needle exchange program for residents who might need some needles for some odd reason. Done.

    Let's have the City convert one of the big hotels in the area to a residence where tennant screening requires that residents be drug addicted with no desire for treatment. Done.

    Let's have CHA build housing in the area to the point they refuse to concentrate poverty here anymore because it goes against their standards for safe neighborhoods and healthy schools. Then, let's build some more ourselves with TIF funds. Done.

    Let's turn Uplift from a Middle School into a High School and bus children in from other parts of the City. Done.

    Then we could add two more towers of subisidized housing and a fish farm. Almost done.

    A Day Labor Center close to that area would help too but the State just passed a law making that idea illegal.

    I feel safer already.

    Thanks Alderman Shiller.

  7. Aron:

    Here's a list of media contacts:

    For Kristyn Hartman (she's done multiple stories on Uptown's violence and Shiller's lack of response), click here and find her in the drop-down menu:


  8. Are there a lot of foot patrols in the area by cops? Because the cars are nice, but having somebody on the ground ready to take action with guys on foot seems like it might be needed. I realize that a cop on foot can't be everywhere, but they're a little more agile at catching some of these guys that a cop that has to get there in his car, get out and then give chase.

  9. "Dude was beaten unconscious on Sheridan about 25 ft west of Lawrence around 6pm, tonight."

    People were saying this gang activity was getting out of hand like the Fenger incident.

    If only a camera had been there...

    If so, maybe Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Mayor Daley and the National Media would have paid us a visit.

    Thanks Alderman Shiller.

  10. Still nothing on Shiller's website by way of an acknowledgment.

  11. The news can report on gang violence all it wants. We can complain about Shiller til we turn blue. I believe, I truly believe, no action will be taken at all until a non-gang member, an "innocent" citizen, is killed in the cross-fire--especially if it's a white woman. Cynical? Yes. Disgusting? You bet. True? Unfortunately almost certainly so.

  12. ok to all of the residents in uptown of the lawrence and sheridan area. the guys off sheridan and lawrence does not go to claredon and wilson starting trouble. Everyone want to say positive loitering will stop this, foot patrol would stop this. nothing will stop this until the real offenders are punished. its diffrent when your defending yourself is diffrent. will one of you "uptowns neighbors condominiums)" stand up and do anything about it? stop the vice lords and say dont shoot at them or stop them from trying to jump on one person? NO HELL NO!!!! but you are sooo quick to judge us.

    We're respectable human beings more like a family not a gang. if we're soooo bad and outrageous how many of the lawrence area residents been jumped, been robbed, shot at or been disrespected by the "gangbangers" none!!! no we dont think like that. you're our neighbors we share the same neighborhood, which we are not claimin this as our "turf" but our community. this is nothing new to us we have been here. thats why helen shiller doesnt speak. helen shiller has been here and been doing her job very well. how do you think you stay here? go throught the years history and facts of uptown. this has been here sorry to inform you if the real estate agents said nothing to you. but like i said we're respectable people just trying to defend themselves to the guys with the guns.

    the younger generation among us are more disrespectable but this is something being worked on. no one should be made to walk in the grass because of 15 or more guys blocking the sidewalk. so there are things that would be done to make you feel better living in our (which you and us) community. so please stop with the sterotypes. there is more violence on the westside and southside. uh all around the world. than in uptown. but believe me we're tired of this gangbanging b******t too!

  13. One thing that may help is to videotape all of these incidents, not just take photos. Then post it to youtube, liveleak, dailymotion, myspace, facebook, etc. Spread it all over the internet, then inform the media where they can see the footage for themselves. Even if the footage isn't used on the news, it is keeping record of each one of these incidents. With each new video posted, the situation becomes harder and harder to ignore or deny.

    I would also suggest not giving it to 1 specific media outlet in the way the Fenger high tape was given to FOX news, as they like to claim ownership and try to take it off of the internet. When they fight to have it removed, less and less people are able to see what is actually happening in our community.

  14. "believe me we're tired of this gangbanging b******t too!"

    uptownmystery, thank you for posting your thoughts. You're right that we might only be able to solve these kinds of problems by working together.

    You praise Alderman Shiller's efforts, but in the same breath assume "we" don't like "you". Where did this idea come from?

    Alderman Shiller is playing "ALL" of us when she pits us against each other. The longer we stay "us" and "them" she wins elections. That is her base of power - division.

    uptownmystery, I can't blame you for believing her hype, but Alderman Shiller is playing you just as much as she plays us, maybe more.

    Just like you, condo owners in the area who care are also trying everything we can think of to end the Bull@#%$, but the paths we must take seem to always be blocked by Alderman Shiller. Why is that?

    Think about it, and think about how we can all work toghether.

    It may be hard or next to impossible to believe, but most if not all of the posters on this board care about you just as much or more than they do about the community. That's the kind of people they are. They are people who care.

    Again, think about it.

  15. Mike:
    I'm continuing to collect video and photos here:
    Feel free to embed, share, virally promote, or contribute. The site is not a place to debate or reflect (Uptown Update is much better suited for that), but rather, a place to view and spread community-generated media related to Uptown issues.

  16. uptownmystery,

    I can't make any sense of your argument. From what I can decipher from you're broken English, here are the points you seem to be making.

    1)The residents in Uptown who own condominiums are not standing up to the Vice Lords. It seems like you're saying we should arm ourselves and go out busting some heads.

    2)The gangbangers haven't hurt anyone living in the area, so they're not so bad. I suppose we should all calm down until a stray bullet kills one of our children.

    3) Someone, unnamed, is working on the problem and we should calm down and let this unnamed force work things out.

  17. In an unrelated incident. There was a shooting at Damen & Ainsle last night around 9pm or so. A few males whom appeared to be Latin Kings may have fired one shot into a car that was driving southbound on Damen. There were lots of kids from Amundsen high school walking around last night and also many neighborhood people. I was only 10-15 yards away from, the car when I heard the shot.

    I believe the kids on the sidewalk fired towards the car, which was directly across from Ravenswood Evangelical church. God forbid innocent people were in the way.

    I'm getting angry that the Chicago public schools are tolerating this kind of student body to attend school. I mean, it's totally obvious by their demeanor and the way they dress that they're in gangs. Kick em out!

  18. I went to a 3 hour meeting at Truman College today sponsored by a few local churches. The purpose of the meeting was to address gang violence. A few mothers of murdered children spoke and the main speaker was a former GD who is now paralyzed due to a botched robbery attempt. Most of it was a prayer service and not quite what I'm used to, but I'm glad I went and I met some great people.

    I get the sense from the meeting that we're all on the same page with wanting gang violence to stop. The idea of mentoring came up, including mentoring parents who feel helpless themselves when their child is involved in a gang. There's lots of work, but it was gratifying to see more people wanting to forge some real solutions.

  19. Windycity Eagle, I don't want to speak for uptownmystery because he is perfectly able to speak for himself and has a much better understanding of his own situation, but this is how I understand it:

    1)When you're in a group that is outside the law, you don't have the law to protect you. Busting heads is possibly your only protection you have from members of other groups outside the law. It's not like you can go to the police for help. Until we all find a solution to that problem, the cycle will continue. Challenge #1

    2)Most unaccepted groups form a code of conduct and feel the togetherness and accountability of a family. Gangs are like families and often live (and die) by a code to keep violence from straying outside the gang environment. For the most part, they are successful. They do this out of respect and we should all honor that code of conduct for what it is, but yes stray bullets and innocent victims are a problem for all of us, including the gang members. Challenge #2

    3) As with any group that has a "dirty little secret," (Senator Larry Craig comes to mind) damage control is sometimes a high priority. One or a few "wayward" members can harm the reputation and future for the entire group. It takes an immense amount of respect and understanding for outsiders to see that not all gangbangers fit the stereotype of the wayward members. It also takes an immese amount of respect and understanding for group members to trust that outsiders usually "get it right" eventually if they have enough information and time to sort it all out. Challenge #3


    Again, thank you uptownmystery for braving putting your thoughts on this board for us to consider.


    Thank you too, James, for attending the Truman College event and sharing your experience here.

  20. CBS 2 news just had a story about the '100 Black Men'
    event with the mayor...and a clip was shown of the (I think?) Sheridan Road brawl, with the reporter saying 'despite what we've seen'

  21. ZestyMarinara - young black male caught in cross-fire? Nobody is going to give a shit. Also that story is almost a year-and-a-half old; people forget. This current violence is increasing, but also increasingly in the news. I meant if someone died now, it would suddenly be a Big Deal, and the city would have to take notice, because otherwise it would get national bad press.


  23. I work near Lawrence and Sheridan and everytime I see these guys hanging in front of my job I call 911. On Friday I placed 3 calls prior to this fighting breaking out. I knew something was brewing. During my final call to 911 the operator told me there is nothing wrong with a group of guys standing on the corner. I'm at the point where I feel I should lie to the operators just to get a faster response.

    BTW.. They also were fighting on Wednesday afternoon as well. The guys were running east on Lawrence with bats.

  24. The guys were running east on Lawrence with bats.

    Maybe that was Helen's campaign manager you saw.

  25. I am sure that those outstanding young men were going to play a nice pick up game of baseball/wiffleball/or softball. After all, what else would they be donig running around in the cold rain with bats. Did anyone see what of gloves those lads had, I am sure that rawlings, wilson or mizuno would love to sponsor a team like that!! Ooops hard to play ball without a glove isn't it!

  26. LawrenceClarendon, you make some good points, but nobody seemed to care about this incident either, and the victim was an innocent young white woman who got shot in the back on Christmas day.

    More to your other point about it being a while ago and people forget...It does seem like media attitudes about gang crimes are changing in the last few weeks, especially because of Barack Obama's presidency and the Olympic bid. I think videos on YouTube have been a big part of that shift. It's like the riots in LA back in the '80's. It makes for dramatic news coverage when TV Stations are short staffed in a bad economy.

    Again, I have to go back to Alderman Shiller and her polarization of this community. Until she is no longer our Alderman, we are going to continue to struggle as much or more with her and her roadblocks as with the situtation itself.

    James' meeting with local churches is a great start, but don't be surprised if Alderman Shiller finds a way to demonize or block that effort too. (or at least finds a way to take full credit for it) I wish she would change, but that zebra ain't changed her stripes in a long long time. I doubt she ever will.

  27. "Let's turn Uplift from a Middle School into a High School and bus children in from other parts of the City. Done." says Zesty

    Zesty, Arai was scheduled to be shut down due to under-enrollment. It was a big beautiful building (with a gorgeous gym, a swimming pool great library, field, etc.) with a lot still to offer the community. It was turned into a community middle and high school called Uplift so kids would have some option in the neighborhood other than Senn. If Uplift has to take some kids from other parts of the city, I think Uplift is following the mandate of CPS, not SHiller. So if you feel that policy is part of the "problem", maybe you should point the finger at CPS. Or clarify how you feel Uplift factors into the violence, and why SHiller, rather than CPS, is to blame.

    Uptownmystery, I appreciate your comment. The fact is, though, most of us outside that gang culture don't see you as "family," so to speak, nor do we separate from one another the fact that you are essentially aiming to hurt one another, and not necessarily the rest of us not involved in the gang. All we see is the frightening aftermath of those fights, or find ourselves getting caught in the middle in these recent "street fights." If you are tired of the gangbanging, you have to recognize that those of you within that culture have the power to end this and stop making the community fearful. The fact that there is more violence elsewhere does not make the violence we see here less disturbing. If you truly feel this is your community, too, then you have a responsibility not to bring chaos to it.Hope you're reading this, uptownmystery, and taking it to heart. We'd prefer that you weren't trying to hurt each other, either.

    I would also suggest that some of these community meetings need to include these probably mostly young people involved in this activity so all sides can try to better understand what's going on. As the commenter pointed out, like it or not, they live here too--and I want to hear from them why they continue in this activity even though they're tired of it.

  28. Uptown Writer, below is part of an article from Catalyst Chicago.

    I'm not an educator or any kind of expert, but I would think parents and their kids have more of a vested interest in keeping their own neighborhood safe than one they are bussed.

    Catalyst Article:

    "Another member of the transition advisory council who had more than a casual interest in what school would replace Arai was Uptown’s alderman, Helen Shiller.

    Her reputation contrasts sharply with many of her colleagues on the City Council.

    While some have welcomed developers into their communities with hugs and tax breaks, Shiller offered them a guarded stare. To developers she was a devil who kept winning elections; to affordable housing advocates she was an angel, albeit a tough one.

    Shiller says she kept an open mind through the selection process, although she had known members of Uplift’s design team for years. Those who grew up in Uptown had spent time in her living room in the 1980s playing fantasy baseball or watching TV with her son, Brendan.

    Read More:

  29. Excuse me Uptownmystery, but respectable human beings do not inflict violence in a community. You may only be fighting among yourselves, but it is disruptive and threatening to families and law abiding citizens in Uptown. I was never one to stereotype until I moved to Uptown. When gunshots are fired below my children's window I affirm that there is just as much violence in Uptown as the Westside or Southside. If you really care about your community please stop rioting and disrupting the traffic and the lives of people who live here.

  30. Loitering is not a crime and is protected by the Constitution. It only becomes a crime when it is within certain boundaries. And then only if they return after being told to move along. For the most part standing on a corner is something the police can do nothing about.


    Young man dies at Wilson Yard this morning from a fall.

    No more details.

  32. Zesty I'm well aware SHiller was on the TAC. I'm familiar with the process and understand that it was about providing a neighborhood school for Uptown youth, preferring them for admission.

    However, unless you say that SHiller controls CPS, I don't see how she is at fault for the fact that Uplift does still operate within CPS rules, and Uplift may still have to comply with CPS regarding admitting some students from outside Uptown. Again, if you have pin-pointed those "bussed" students as the "trouble-makers" perhaps you should be complaining to CPS about their policies.

  33. Nadmenny Millicent - Loitering becomes illegal when the loitering disturbs the peace and safety of the citizens. I.e a large group of people just hanging out blocking the sidewalk, yelling etc., or the person walking back and forth for 45 minutes on the same street corner waiting for his/her "customers"

    Taken directly from your link here's the explanation of loitering-

    “remaining in any one place under circumstances that would warrant a reasonable person to believe that the purpose or effect of that behavior is to enable a criminal street gang to establish control over identifiable areas, to intimidate others from entering these areas, or to conceal illegal activities.”

    so maybe instead of calling in loitering to 911/311, maybe it is better to call it in as disturbing the peace.

  34. " in any public place designated for enforcement of this ordinance" and that's the key NMF, designated "place". That's the problem the public has. They don't, can't or are unwilling to understand that the days of the police just swooping in and arresting those standing around on a corner are over no matter how much we want that. It must be in a designated place.

  35. As I was told by 2 police officers shortly after the Sheridan riot video was released this summer - get rid of Shiller and this crap will stop.

    Remember that in 2011.

  36. You missed my point, Big Daddy - If the loitering taking place is illegal in nature something can be done. Like seeing someone sell crack, whore themselves or cause a noise nuisance because a group of people are blocking access to the sidewalk and being loud enough to disturb the peace and quiet of those around them or hassling people as they try to walk by (believe me, it happens)... Of course the cops can't do anything if they are doing nothing.
    Hopefully with all the violence throughout the city, the city will update it's loitering law to be more strict and get the supreme court on board so it can be enforced.

  37. but you are sooo quick to judge us.

    uptownmystery, people tend to jump to conclusions when they look out their window and see 20 or 30 guys fighting in the middle of the street in broad daylight. It's hard to find a sensible justification for that. So if you're concerned about being judged too quickly, here's a tip: stop fighting in the middle of the street in broad daylight. Or any hour of the day for that matter. problem solved.

    We're respectable human beings more like a family not a gang.

    Respectible human beings don't fight in the middle of the street, blocking traffic and trying to beat the sh*t out of each other for no good reason (and whatever reason you come up with won't be a good reason no matter how many excuses you come up with). Respectible human beings try to BETTER their community not make it a place where no one wants to live. Until you understand this (which I don't think you will, at least not anytime soon), you will not be a respectible human being. Sorry, but it's a fact.

  38. So who is running against the Alderman Shiller? The election should be coming up and all I here is people complaining about her and her lack of action and terrible policies. Why don't the tax payers of the area pick someone who cares about safety and a clean neighborhood. I have no political background but could do a much better job then her!!!

  39. nmf-
    Disturbing the peace is only a crime when the police have a citizen complainant willing to go to court.

    An officer's peace can not be beached. The courts have made it that way. 10 years ago an officer could be the complainant, not any more. The courts have taken that ability away.

  40. "As I was told by 2 police officers shortly after the Sheridan riot video was released this summer - get rid of Shiller and this crap will stop."

    Interesting. I would bet if you ask any paramedic in the area that has to make the daily "drunk pickups" they would say the same.

    We can't get rid of you quick enough Helen. Karma is a b*tch though and your day is coming soon enough.

  41. Am I the only one who finds it rather insulting (and not to mention bizarre) that the 46th Ward site currently promotes the 'airport vendor seminar'?

    Fish farms......0'Hare vendor slots.......clearly, the most pressing issues we face in Uptown!