The Kane County state’s attorney has sued 25 members of the Elgin Maniac Latin Disciples street gang seeking to further rid the city of destructive activity.
The lawsuit, filed June 21, 2013, in Kane County civil court on behalf of the city of Elgin, is the third in three years to be filed by the Kane County State’s Attorney's Office. It is similar to the previous suits, filed in September 2010 against members of the Elgin Latin Kings, and in May 2012 against the members of the Aurora Latin Kings.
The latest lawsuit, like previous lawsuits, names specific members of the Maniac Latin Disciples, as well as the gang itself. It seeks to prohibit the named gang members from congregating in public and addresses such behavior as the possession and use of weapons, and illicit narcotics, graffiti, violent behavior and other activities generally associated with street gangs.
The goal is to dramatically shrink the gang’s criminal activities by impeding its members’ ability to freely operate within the community among law-abiding citizens.
“By and through their association with the Maniac Latin Disciples … members engage in a pattern of criminal activity and gang-related including felonies, murders, shootings, aggravated batteries, unlawful possession of and unlawful use of weapons, unlawful possession of and delivery of controlled substances, criminal defacement of property, and other conduct injurious to the people of the state of Illinois, and the city of Elgin,” the suit states in part.
In addition, the suit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory relief for past damage and financial losses incurred as a result of the gang activities and to offset the costs of fighting the street gangs.
“This type of lawsuit has been effective in the past, in this jurisdiction and others, at undercutting street gangs and their ability to carry out their criminal conduct among law-abiding citizens. We continue to seek opportunities to file similar civil lawsuits, and we are pleased to work with law enforcement to put an end to the violent, disruptive and antisocial behavior of these gang members,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said.
“The people named in this suit have participated in many crimes, from murder to drug offenses to brazenly refusing to obey police instructions. The people of Kane County expect us to improve their quality of life by reducing crime. We are listening. And we have filed this lawsuit on behalf of those law-abiding citizens who are tired of the destructive crime in their community. We will continue to act in support of their efforts to return to a community that is safe for everyone.”
The project was investigated and prepared with the help of the Elgin Police Department, which researched the criminal histories of gang members in Elgin as we determined who to sue. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office collaborated with the Elgin Police Department to serve the summonses.
The gang members were served with the summonses beginning June 21, 2013. Each gang member, once served, is ordered to respond to the complaint in accordance with Illinois law. The initial case management date for each case isOct. 8, 2013, in front of Circuit Judge David R. Akemann in Courtroom 110 at the old Kane County Courthouse in downtown Geneva.
Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda is pleased to have another opportunity to reduce gang crime and improve public safety.
“I am proud of the collaborative efforts between the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Elgin Police Department. Partnering to take civil action against gang members has proven successful in the past. We anticipate similar success with this case as we target another gang and continue to drive down gang crimes in our community.”
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The lawsuit is brought pursuant to the 1993 Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act. The Act holds that street gangs who operate to terrorize communities with repeated acts of violence may be held accountable for monetary damages and enjoined from further gang activity.
The Act states in part:
“… Communities, neighborhoods and schools throughout the state are being terrorized and plundered by street gangs. …
“Street gangs’ activities present a clear and present danger to public order and safety and their actions are not constitutionally protected. No society is or should be required to endure such activities without redress.”
The complaint is a series of allegations that must be proven in court by a preponderance of the evidence. The defendants have the right to deny and challenge these allegations or to admit them or otherwise settle or resolve this complaint.
SOURCE: Kane County State's Attorney's Office press release