Prosecutor files civil lawsuit against street gang

37 Latin Kings named in suit

- Authorities in DuPage County are suing more than three dozen reputed gang members in an effort to curb violence. The civil lawsuit prohibits 37 members of the Latin Kings from engaging in criminal activity and associating in public.

"They are a bunch of punks and criminals. They know where they will end up, in a courtroom if not the penitentiary, the graveyard," said Joe Birkett, DuPage County States Attorney.

Reputed gang members-- who were arrested, tried and convicted in past criminal activity-- were named in the suit, which alleges that since 1998, members of the Latin Kings engaged in fatal shootings, beatings, unlawful possession and use of weapons and possession and delivery of controlled substances, among other offenses.

The lawsuit seeks an order from the court that bars gang members from possessing or discharging any weapon, or using possessing, delivering, or manufacturing any illegal or controlled substance.

"The law enforcement community and the residents, the state's attorney's office has to stand up and put a stop to this," said Chief William Hayden, Addison Police.

"You don't have to wait until they commit a crime. If we see gang members in this suit associating with each other, we can take action on that ," said Chief Michael Marron Glendale Hts. Police.

The lawsuit was filed under the Illinois Street Gang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act, passed by the General Assembly in 1993. This is the second time it has been used in DuPage County. The first was in 1999 when a suit was filed to disrupt the operations of another street gang.

"As a result of the action, while it was pending in court, what I will say it dismantled their operations. Right now they are not existing in our community," said Cmdr. Bruce Malkin, West Chicago Police.

Twenty-two individuals named in the suits have already been served. Eight are in custody for other crimes. The rest will be served in the coming days.

"They should be aware that they are all on the radar screen. Every one of them operating in DuPage County," said Birkett.

The suit also seeks damages.