Rep. Bobby Rush Slams "White Boy" Solution to Chicago's Gang Violence

GOP Sen. Mark Kirk wants federal funds for a mass arrest of gang members.

Posted: 05/30/2013 10:29 AM EDT

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk has a plan to deal with Chicago's gang violence: round them up and arrest the perps en masse. Rep. Bobby Rush on Wednesday condemned the proposal, which calls for $30 million in federal funding.

In a phone interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, the former Black Panther said the proposal was "headline grabbing" and an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.”

Rush, who also condemns gang violence, said that congressional dollars would be better spent and have a far greater impact on the problem if used for job training and creation.

A "law and order, lock ‘em up solution" won't work, he added.

In a follow-up email to the Sun-Times, Rush used a softer tone to lament the absence of measures to improve employment, housing, health care and education in Kirk's plan but continued to criticize the plan, which he said would result in the incarceration of 18,000 African-American men.

"Why is incarceration the sole option instead of rehabilitation, which is proven to work, and not locking young men up,” he said.

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(Photo: Dario Cantatore/Getty Images for Wells and Jeta Entertainment)

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