Are you kidding me? Unreal!
CHICAGO â€” Nearly 100 teens marched outside Chicago police headquarters Thursday night to protest the department’s plans to equip officers with semi-automatic rifles, saying the weapons could make the streets more dangerous.
Carrying signs like “Stop the War on Youth,” teens said they didn’t trust police with the high-powered weapons and worried gangs would be encouraged to bolster their own arsenals.
“The only people who need these guns are in Iraq,” said Arthur McGraw, 19, an organizer with the nonprofit Southwest Youth Collaborative, which organized the rally. “It’ll shoot through brick, car doors. Say your family is in the house eating and there’s some gang violence. When they shoot these [the bullets] can come into your house and shoot your kids.”
Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said Thursday that though police have ordered and received some of the guns, police are not yet using them. Their use will be phased in over the next three years.
In April police Supt. Jody Weis said he wanted to equip all of the department’s officers with the high-powered weapons as part of an overall crime-fighting strategy, arguing that officers are outgunned on the streets. Officers currently carry pistols, and only SWAT officers carry rifles, M4 carbines.
Mayor Richard Daley publicly backed Weis’ plan, saying the rifles would put officers on equal footing with armed gangs and criminals.