Gov. Quinn targets Chicago street gang leaders, signs RICO into law

June 11, 2012

Jewell Washington

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law Monday that he said targets gang leaders.

“We have to make this our mission to go after these thugs, mobsters, gangsters and use every fiber of our being and every ounce of the law to carry out this mission,” Quinn said.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has spoken out in favor of the legislation and said it will help them go after high-ranking gang members.

According to the governor’s office, gang members convicted of criminal conspiracy under the new law could face more than 30 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. The office also said Illinois joins 31 other states in having racketeering statutes.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also lobbied for the legislation. He said the new law is a part of community policing effort.

“Those are the streets of our children and those are the streets of our good law-abiding citizens,” Emanuel said. “This is gonna help us make sure that those citizens own those streets, not these gangs.”

The Chicago Police Department said nearly 80 percent of the city’s homicides are gang-related. It also said there are approximately 100,000 Chicago street gang members.