CHICAGO — A Father’s Day picnic turned into an out of control block party on the Near West Side, and it became the backdrop for a music video featuring guns, alcohol, gang signs and young children.
About 1,000 people took part in the annual block party near Touhy-Herbert Park, two blocks west of the United Center. The music video being filmed was for the Chicago rap group 24 Money Gang.
Kyro McGowan of Elgin shot and edited the video that shows multiple men, including teens and even young boys flashing guns, including an assault rifle.
“It’s not always real guns in these videos. You can get prop guns,” McGowan said. “When they got in contact with me, they told me that’s what it was going to be. And I’m the cameraman. If I’m the cameraman and have a gun pointed at me, I need to know if it’s real or not. Them guns wasn’t real.”
Chicago police are aware of the video and are in the process of reviewing it. So far, they can confirm they have arrested one juvenile seen in the video for unlawful use of a weapon.
“The gun part is terrible. I think that just brings to light how many guns we have out in our society,” said Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th Ward. He says at least half a dozen rival street gangs hang out in that park and organize large parties like this on a regular basis, in a neighborhood known for gun violence.
Resident Celeste Palomar watched a man die on the sidewalk right in front of her nephew’s home last week, right where this block party happened.
“It was real packed a lot of people. We left, we don’t like being in that scene. Anything could happen. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
What bothers her and many who see the video, is the message being sent, especially to children.
“It’s not a good example. It’s not,” Palomar said.
“It’s typically of all these videos. It sends a bad message to all of our children,” Burnett said.
“Everyone thinks, ‘Hey man, this was negative,’ which it wasn’t. I can understand where they’re coming from, but we have more projects coming out that are going to be positive. We’ll show people that rap music is not aways bad,” McGowan said.
Chicago police continue to review this video and say more arrests could be coming.
Burnett says on Tuesday new parking permit signs will be going up in the area to prevent non-residents from parking there overnight to crack down on these parties.