Peace in the Hood?

The WTTW Journal looks into the gang truce in Cabrini–Green that was negotiated after the death of Dantrell Davis. Elizabeth Brackett speaks to law enforcement and people in the community about the ongoing peace and the former violence.

0:03Copy video clip URL Opening for the WTTW Journal, which will be looking into the Cabrini Green gang truce.

0:49Copy video clip URL After the shooting of a child, the gangs, police, and government officials came together to improve life in Cabrini Green. One year ago, Dantrell Davis was gunned down on the way to Jenner School. Senque Selvy, his classmates, and school principal Sandra Satinover talk about the day of Dantrell’s death and remember how dangerous it was last year.

4:54Copy video clip URL Gang leader Fred Watkins talks about his life in the gang, which began at age 11. He describes life in Cabrini before the peace as “kill or be killed”, and admits to having shot many people.

6:36Copy video clip URL Three Chicago cops give an anti-gang message in their video for “Ain’t It a Shame”, a rap song they released as The Slick Boys.

8:02Copy video clip URL Watkins, chief of the Traveling Vicelords, was one of the first to sign the gang peace treaty shortly after Dantrell’s death. Community organizer Marion Stamps threw a party to celebrate the first six months of the truce and award gang leaders who helped maintain peace.

10:45Copy video clip URL The Slick Boys grew up in housing projects and understand the problems faced by children in Cabrini Green. Jimmy Martin says that the kids need positive role models. Eric Davis says they use the relationships they built in the neighborhood to help keep the peace. However, neither police superintendent Matthew Rodriguez or Mayor Daley have much faith in the gang truce.

12:55Copy video clip URL The mayor and the CHA started heavy security measures in Cabrini Green after Dantrell’s death. The security measures have cost $8 million, a 70 percent increase over the year before. Vince Lane, chairman of the CHA, credits the increased security for the peace in Cabrini Green, and does not recognize the gang truce.

15:23Copy video clip URL Statistics show that crime in Cabrini has dropped dramatically. There has been no gang-related murder or gunfire. Watkins now works for Marion Stamps’ organization, and says he can now cross rival gangs’ territory, something he could not have done before the truce.

17:27Copy video clip URL The first major test of the truce came 8 months after Dantrell’s death, when two young men were gunned down. Police, community organizers, and gang leaders worked all day to keep the peace. They learned that the killings were the result of a love triangle, not gang turf fights. Commander Robert Guthrie knew that it was critical to get the facts out quickly. Watkins said that before the truce, the killings would have resulted in an all-out gang war.

20:24Copy video clip URL Senque says that this year, he can walk to school without fear. He thinks the gang truce has been more important than the increased security. His teacher Vincent Ball says that his students have been more eager this year, and also attributes the peace to the gang truce.

22:11Copy video clip URL The Slick Boys say that keeping the peace requires constant work, and Randy Holcomb is optimistic about the future of the gang truce. They have tried their methods at other CHA projects. After a shooting in the south side, Guthrie sent in The Slick Boys, who negotiated a truce.

24:30Copy video clip URL Vince Lane says CHA residents will not have a positive future until the problem of poverty is addressed. He says public housing will not work until there is an economic mix of residents. Senque is one of the impoverished children whose future is in question. He lives in a bleak, roach-infested apartment, but his mother Doreen has dreams for his future.

26:30Copy video clip URL Closing credits, played over The Slick Boys music video.

27:03Copy video clip URL End of tape



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