Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) on Wednesday accused Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) of proposing an “elitist white boy solution” to gang violence with his plan for the mass arrests of 18,000 gang members in Chicago.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kirk had joined with fellow Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in calling on Illinois attorney general nominee Zachary Fardon to focus on street gangs and gun violence. But in an interview earlier this month, Kirk had gone even further with a plan to target members of the Gangster Disciples.
“My top priority is to arrest the Gangster Disciple gang, which is 18,000 people,” Kirk told WFLD. “I would like to a mass pickup of them and put them all in the Thomson Correctional Facility.”
The senator proposed that federal agencies — like the ATF, DEA and FBI — work together to charge members of the gang with “drug dealing” and “murdering people, which is what they do.”
Rush reacted to that plan on Wednesday by insisting it was a “sensational, headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic, unworkable approach.”
Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times that Kirk needed to “see the bigger picture” instead of proposing an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.”
“I am really very upset with Mark,” he said.
In a follow-up statement, Rush explained that his colleague’s “current plan does not include the option to create jobs, provide affordable and safe housing, quality health care and improve schools in urban areas, BUT certainly a plan to incarcerate 18,000 black men is elitist.”
Watch this video from WGN, broadcast May 29, 2013.
(h/t: Talking Points Memo)
[Correction: This story originally identified to Kirk as a congressman.]