Local

Shooting death at funeral leads police to tighten security, change policy

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The recent shooting death of a gang leader at a Chicago church has triggered a change in how police treat gang funerals.

Officers will now show up in force and people who attend may be searched.

Chicago police confirm Sherman Miller is the gun-toting gang member in the viral internet video which police said was taken this summer during a funeral procession.

Miller is now dead after being shot outside a church funeral last week and that violence is prompting change from the top.

"The police are going to treat gang funerals as a gang event and people will be, appropriately, checked and patted down," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Miller was shot and killed in front of St. Columbanus Catholic Church. Along with security checks, the mayor and police say there will be more officers at the funerals.

The new strategy went into effect yesterday at Miller's funeral.

The violence been an ongoing problem, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

"I can't believe we have to stand here and have this conversation, but the fact is, it's unacceptable and we're not going to let it go on," McCarthy said.

It is welcome news for the residents of West Beverly. The neighborhood is right across the street from Mount Hope Cemetery and when a gang member is buried there, residents witness the fallout.

"We've had gun fights, running gun fights up the street for several years and we're more concerned about our children and our safety," West Beverly resident Chris T. said.

"We live in a safe community. But when these gang bangers are here, it's not a safe community and we're sick and tired of it," 19th Ward Alderman Matt O'Shea said.

Pastor Corey Brooks officiated Miller's funeral and the one where Miller was shot November 26th. He understands the mayor's move but would prefer preventative programs.

"I think right now we're reacting instead of being proactive," Brooks said. "I would like to see us be a little more proactive as far as solutions to stop all the violence."

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