After top Hartford law enforcement and political officials spoke out on the need to crack down on gun violence and drug dealing, a former convict named Omar Williams presented another view of the challenge, says the Hartford Courant. “I made mistakes in my life, but when I got out, I chose to change,” said Omar Williams, 36, the father of four children. “But once you’re a felon, you signed your fate.” He said he couldn’t find an apartment or job. “What’s a brother supposed to do?” he asked the panel, which included Mayor Eddie Perez, Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano and Kevin O’Connor, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
Perez, who had announced that special teams of police detectives are scouring Hartford’s neighborhoods to seize illegal guns, stood up and threw the challenge back at Williams. “I have nine brothers, six of them who have been to prison,” the mayor told him. “You don’t think I know what it’s like? I can tell you that we will take your name, get your information and do everything we can to help you. But if there are people out there willing to spend 24 hours on the street selling drugs, they should be willing to spend 24 hours looking for a job. It’s up to you.” Perez’ plan includes a crackdown on gun trafficking in the city by new teams of detectives who last week began trying to determine how guns are coming into Hartford. The teams are being helped by an increased presence of federal firearms agents.