“I remember the manipulation, the cruelty, the exploitive nature of gang members. People like to think of them as the protectors of the neighborhood. I get that. I was the alderman of the 26th Ward. It’s no different than Little Village. None.”
We were talking over the weekend about what everybody in Chicago has been talking about since Thursday, when the bodycam video of Little Village 13-year-old Adam Toledo being shot by a police officer was released.
The footage makes for sickening viewing: the jumpy chase through an alley; the barked, ignored commands; the boy’s hands going up followed instantly by the gunshot. The red blood. Watching it once, I can’t imagine ever watching it again. Once is too much.
I had just read the upbeat update about Gutierrez that Mark Brown wrote last week; Gutierrez has returned to Chicago to welcome his second grandchild — his daughter Jessica’s baby shower was Saturday — and to promote Puerto Rican causes.
So I almost shook off Gutierrez’s suggestion that we speak about the shooting. My job isn’t to echo Mark. Yet why not see what Gutierrez has to say? My first question was whether he truly wants to plunge into this emotional maelstrom. Or as I put it: “Do you really want to jam your hand into this spinning fan?”
“I understand that,” he said. “But at some point you have to stop and say something. I feel that what is happening to Adam is a second demonization process.”
Some Latino politicians are dismissing Toledo as just another gang-banger who got what gang-bangers get.
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