Clearing out the Sun-Times press-release slush pile on this Friday afternoon…
A local “activist,” “author” and “civil rights law researcher” says he’s suing Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) for his infamous May proposal to arrest Chicago’s Gangster Disciples en masse. In a demonstrative press release, a Michael Gardner says the since-abandoned plan to “shackle and detain” those who “freely express themselves IN ASSOCIATION as Gangster Disciples” merits a $19.5 million civil-rights lawsuit—that’s more than $1,000 for each of the 18,000 gangbangers alleged by Gardner to have had his rights deprived. (So far we can’t confirm that anything was actually filed in federal court.*)
Kirk, of course, was blasted for the idea, which Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) called an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about” to backlash of his own. The two later made up and pledged to work together to combat the city’s violence problems, and Kirk conceded in an interview with WBEZ last week that his proposal—one that has not and will not be implemented—was impractical.
Impractical? Definitely. Unconstitutional? Maybe a 1-in-19.5 million chance.
*July 29 update: Gardner’s suit has indeed been filed in federal court, according to Sun-Times reporter Kim Janssen