Beaten to death with splintered railroad ties – “business as usual” in Chicago
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The following video shows a 16-year-old being brutally beaten to death in a fight between two Chicago gangs. The shocking footage is far from rare - Derrion Albert is the 47th Chicago schoolchild to be killed in the city this year. Read more and watch the video...
The following video shows a 16-year-old being brutally beaten to death in a fight between two Chicago gangs. The shocking footage is far from rare - Derrion Albert is the 47th schoolchild to be killed in the city this year.
Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago is one of the most violent in the United States, with an estimated 100,000 gang members in a city of three million. According to Chicago Public Schools officials, almost 300 school-aged children have been shot in the past 12 months. The footage of Derrion Albert's murder on September 24, which was filmed on a mobile phone and passed on to the local police, prompted Obama to dispatch Attorney General Eric Holder and education secretary Arne Duncan to Chicago to "search for solutions to youth crime".
The footage emerged just days before the Olympics committee ruled Chicago out as a potential host for the 2016 games, leading some to believe that the brutal images might have spoiled the city's chances.
“Beating up a guy is one way of attaining a higher status”
Codrin is a 22-year-old political science student at the University of Chicago. He has spent time with Chicago gangs as part of his studies into unofficial power structures.
As someone living on the South Side, this is just business as usual. Just last week a couple of friends of mine were injured in a drive by shooting on bus number 55, which is the main way of getting to my neighbourhood. These fights can break out over something very trivial. It's often a case of gang members ‘trespassing' on another gang's territory. In the fight where Albert was killed, it could have been a case of gang members trying to prove themselves to others in the group - beating up a guy is one way of attaining a higher status within your gang. But it might also have been a squabble over 10 or 20 dollars that got out of control. Innocent people are sometimes caught in these fights.
One of the reasons why gangs are operational in Chicago is because of the utter social inequality the poor experience. Look at where the murder happened - dire poverty in most of the neighbourhood, and then only one kilometre away, you see one of the world's biggest golf courses. I'd like to emphasise that this is not about only blacks getting into gangs. It's about disadvantaged youths in general. One of Chicago's biggest gangs is majority Latino.
I don't think this video had anything to do with the decision on the Olympics. I think Chicago was ruled out because the people here - I for one - didn't really want it. It would only have further increased rent prices and the general cost of living, meaning more social inequality and more ‘trespassing' on certain territories."
Warning - you may find these images upsetting.
Courtesy of Chicago Police Dept. Images have been blurred.