Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to sue Chicago gangs, seize their assets

As Chicago's gang violence spirals out of control, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is coming up with a new plan to fight back.

Lightfoot wants to hold the gangs accountable by allowing the city to sue the very people who are pulling the trigger.

Authorities want to take away the guns, cars, jewelry and money from gangs to eliminate their profit motive.


Lightfoot is introducing an ordinance on Tuesday that will allow the city to sue gangs for the damage they inflict and seize their assets, the objects of ill-gotten gains.

"What we are proposing is a tool in civil courts that gives us the opportunity to go after those gangs that are wreaking havoc and in particular, take away the profit motive from them by seizing assets that they have been able to purchase because of their violent activity in our neighborhoods," Lightfoot said.

Gangs, guns and drugs fuel the violence that is killing children and adults in Chicago. The carjackings and street violence are frightening. Police say the gangs are out of control.

Lightfoot says civil lawsuits will be an additional tool to fight gangs.

"As a city we are using every tool to push back against the gangs that are leaving a trail of blood, death, and misery in their wake," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot says suing in civil court is not a strategy to get around the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

Using lawsuits against gangs has been done in the suburbs with mixed results. The gang members are taken to court but their assets are not always collected.

The ordinance will need to be approved by the City Council.