UPDATE 8.22.13: Cunningham’s legislation targeting "gang funerals" signed into law

CHICAGO – Thanks to a new law sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), Chicago streets will now be a little safer. It will allow police to impound the cars of drivers who dangerously swerve in and out of traffic waving firearms and flashing gang signs during so-called “gang funerals.”

"Gang funerals create major safety concerns for area residents and all of Chicago area.” Cunningham said. “We must give our police the tools they need to keep our streets safe.” 

In 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel began pushing for a stronger law enforcement presence at funerals of gang members. In the past, these funerals have ended with offenders throwing loaded weapons out of cars, dangerous high-speed car chases, and even shots fired. Senate Bill 2154 will continue to crackdown on the gang members that choose to abuse these funerals. 

This legislation was a joint effort with Alderman Matthew O’Shea. Cunningham and O’Shea met with area residents whose neighborhoods have been plagued by gang funerals for years. O’Shea, who represents Chicago’s 19th Ward, testified on behalf of the legislation before the General Assembly.



UPDATE 4.18.13: SB2154 was approved by the Senate on April 17 and now awaits action in the House. Senator Cunningham recorded this video to further explain the need for and intent of this measure.



4-11-13  -  In an effort to punish motorists who drive recklessly in so-called "gang funerals," State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) won the approval of a senate panel Wednesday for Senate Bill 2154. The legislation would allow police to impound the cars of drivers who swerve in and out of traffic or allow passengers to hang out of the windows and doors of their vehicle during funeral processions.

"Reckless driving during funeral processions of known gang members is a growing problem on the South Side of Chicago and in the Southwest Suburbs," Cunningham said. "Too many times the streets of my district have been endangered by funeral processions in which gang members recklessly swerve their cars into oncoming traffic while passengers hang out of car windows and flash gang signs at pedestrians. This behavior not only creates a threat to public safety, it is highly disrespectful to the families of the deceased."

Senate Bill 2154 authorizes municipalities to impound vehicles used in reckless driving offenses if the car is part of a funeral or if the vehicle interferes with a funeral procession. Cunningham presented the bill to the Senate Transportation Committee and was joined by Alderman Matthew O'Shea of Chicago's 19th Ward, who testified in favor of the bill. O'Shea told the committee that the legislation was developed after a series of meetings with residents and police officers in his community, which has been plagued by gang funerals in recent years. 

SB 2154 now awaits a vote by the full Senate. 

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