Both Jermalle Brown and Douglas Bufford were gang members hired to play a small role in helping combat violence on Chicago’s South Side through a program hatched by Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, says the Chicago Sun-Times. Paid $8.50 an hour with public funds to hand out anti-violence pamphlets in their neighborhood, the two low-income teens were part-time foot soldiers in the governor’s $54.5 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a program he described as “a comprehensive and concerted effort to keep our young people safe, off the streets and in school.”
Instead of embodying a bold new way to fight bloodshed on the South Side, Bufford is now dead, and Brown is charged with his murder, putting a dramatic and deadly new blemish on the one-time Quinn showpiece, which was pilloried last week in a report by Auditor General William Holland. At the same time they were on the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative payroll, Brown, then 19, and Bufford, 16, allegedly broke into a Grand Crossing home in July 2012 with one other man and announced a robbery in what Chicago Police believe was a gang-related crime. Until he was contacted by the Sun-Times yesterday, Quinn did not know that a participant in his anti-violence program was dead, allegedly murdered by another.