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'Army of Moms' on High Alert After Retaliation Threats Hit Facebook

By Andrea V. Watson | September 16, 2015 5:38am
 Tamar Manasseh of Mothers Against Senseless Killings is hoping to to break the violent cycle of retaliatory violence in Englewood by restoring some of the power of parents.
Tamar Manasseh of Mothers Against Senseless Killings is hoping to to break the violent cycle of retaliatory violence in Englewood by restoring some of the power of parents.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke (File)

ENGLEWOOD — Many of the “army of moms” watching the streets of Englewood have put away their folding chairs, but the group's organizer says her volunteers are on high alert after recent Facebook posts threatened retaliation for the shooting that led to the patrol in the first place.

Tamar Manasseh formed Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK) in June to patrol the neighborhood where she grew up after the murder of Lucille Barnes, 34, on the 7500 block of South Stewart. Manasseh, who now lives in Bronzeville, and other mothers hoped to stop any retaliatory violence on Stewart and other nearby streets.

During their summer-long patrol only one person was shot in the area they were overseeing.

Andrea Watson says the moms have brought the block together:

But even without their physical presence, which ended on Labor Day, Manasseh said the moms are now watching in a different way.

“This time we’re sitting in front of a computer screen,” Manasseh said. “I see this as the same thing we did by sitting on the corner.”

She said that a police source informed her of a growing Facebook feud between gang members in the area, including friends and relatives of the victims in the two shootings, and told her more officers would be patrolling the streets.

In one post, a friend of one of the victims said "N----- gonna Die on that corner." Another post references an arrest in the second killing and says "thats my friend on here."

Chicago Police officer Janel Sedevic wouldn’t comment, saying that she couldn’t “discuss deployment operations.”

“Detectives are aware of the shooting and we encourage anyone with information, to either text or call the station or call 311,” she said.

After moms saw the Facebook feud, MASK posted a statement on the social media platform offering to mediate between the rivals.

“We at MASK are completely impartial and our concern for all of you is unlimited," the statement says. "We are mindful of both sides' losses and grievances and in keeping with MASK's purpose, we hope to aid in turning losses into peaceful purposeful resolution; bringing hope to others who may experience what you now are. We are hoping to provide an opportunity to make what happened spark positive change. Therefore, we are willing to facilitate mediation between the parties in an effort to prevent any further loss of life or involvement of law enforcement. These are the losses for everyone.”

The post said they would patrol until the "threat has subsided."

"You are not the only ones involved in this conflict," it reads. "The ENTIRE community is, and endangering the lives of children, elders and other innocent bystanders will no longer be tolerated."

The statement said that if the mediation offer is declined, MASK will deploy all of its volunteers and other community members back to the blocks where they had been monitoring, including on Eggleston, Normal and Harvard avenues between 73rd and 76th streets. So far, she hasn't gotten a response.

“We’re not going to tolerate it anymore,” Manasseh said. “No one is going to go in their house, lay on their floor and lock their doors and windows anymore. We’re not going to do that anymore. You’re just simply aren’t going to be able to do what you do, you’re not going to change the way I do things I do anymore, you’re going to have to change what you do at this point.”

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