Cook County Announces Task Force To Fight Cemetery Violence
CHICAGO (CBS) -- Violence at cemeteries, and during funeral processions, in Cook County is increasing.
A Hillside police chase is just one example of some of the violence. Chief Joe Lukaszek says three guns were recovered from the stolen SUV, which had just left a cemetery.
"There's no respect for the dead anymore," he said.
Cemeteries in Hillside are the final resting place for many gang members killed in Chicago. Funeral processions from the city often end up on the expressways, which lead to dangerous situations.
"People, literally, are jumping on other sides of the road, driving next each other, weaving in and out of traffic, guns being waived out of cars. There's been shots fired from vehicles, as well," Sheriff Tom Dart said.
As a result, Dart is creating a new task force to tackle the problem. It will be comprised of community leaders, citizens and law enforcement, as well as cemetery and funeral home owners.
"These individuals will help us to determine what types of things we can put in place to ensure that people have safe funerals," said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin.
Rev. Ira Acree says communities also need to step up and have tough conversations with those causing the trouble. "There has to be a point where the buck stops. Something has to be sacred, and we got to respect our families. Simple as that," he said.
Chief Lukaszek says the task force is a good idea, but agrees that accountability is needed to end the violence. "We need our judicial system to enforce what laws are on the books. We need our states attorneys to prosecute the criminals and put these people behind bars."
Dart said he hopes to have the task force in place by May, as summer is historically when Chicago sees an uptick in shootings and murders -- which, of course, means more funerals.
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