Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Mark Kirk want to put an end to the violence caused by the Gangster Disciples. NBC 5's Phil Rogers reports on how US Attorney-designate Zach Fardon top priority is Chicago's gang problem.
Illinois senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin have thousands of Chicago gang members in their sights.
The bipartisan pair held a news conference Wednesday to discuss a possible plan to put thousands of members of Chicago's Gangster Disciples street gang behind bars.
"I'm pretty focused on crushing the Gangster Disciples," Kirk said Wednesday. "It's a pretty big project, could involve upwards of 18,000 arrests. I think it's within the capability of the United States government to crush a major urban gang."
Kirk, a Republican, and Durbin, a Democrat, met with U.S. Attorney nominee Zachary Fardon Wednesday to discuss the outline of a plan.
"We are appalled at the reporting of these horrific crimes taking place in this area," Durbin said.
Kirk says the Gangster Disciples are a priority because members of the gang are linked to the death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton earlier this year.
Pendleton, an honors student at King College Prep High, was shot as she and a group of other teens sought cover from a rain storm in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park.
"It's payback for Hadiya Pendelton's death," Kirk said. "In my case, personally, I want to take out the GDs because they killed Hadiya."
Kirk worked with Pendleton's parents on trying to craft a gun bill in the girl's honor following her death.
Even with 200 rookie police officers on the streets in Chicago's most dangerous zones, Kirk says he's working with the DEA on even more resources for a strike force that would target the Gangster Disciples gang, an initiative supported by Chicago Police superintendent Garry McCarthy.
Attorney Ron Safer led the prosecution team that took down the Gangster Disciples leadership in the 1990s, and he believes the strategy the senators are discussing will have an impact on the murder rate.
The Gangster Disciples claimed to have reinvented itself as a positive community organization, while continuing to move $100 million a year in illegal drugs. Safer likens it to the federal government's all out war against Al Capone in the 1930s.
"Those were the words I said to the jury. Al Capone was the biggest supporter of orphanages in Chicago. It didn't mean he wasn't a cold-blooded killer," Safer said.
The Gangster Disciples have members all over the country, but gang originated in the 1960s on the streets of Chicago.
Kirk and Durbin said their plan will also target the trail of narcotics coming into Chicago, gun trafficking and government corruption.