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Gun-toting citizens patrol city's violent areas as part of Self-Defense Brigade — but mayor reportedly doesn't like it
Images source: YouTube screenshot

Gun-toting citizens patrol city's violent areas as part of Self-Defense Brigade — but mayor reportedly doesn't like it

Armed citizens have formed a group called the Self-Defense Brigade and have started to patrol the violent areas of Hartford, Connecticut — but the mayor reportedly isn't thrilled with the group's efforts.

What are the details?

“We are legally armed, and we are patrolling,” Cornell Lewis, founder of the Self-Defense Brigade, told WVIT-TV. “The people on Garden Street came to us and asked us for help.”

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The station said Garden Street has seen its share of gun violence, including a double homicide in February, which is what prompted the push for civilian armed patrols.

Organizers told WVIT the group members legally carry as they walk around violent parts of the city.

The station said the Self-Defense Brigade on Saturday was patrolling and even cleaning up Garden Street in Hartford’s North End.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Image source: YouTube screenshot

“It was important to come out here because we believe that we have to keep the community safe, keep the community clean," Marcus Long of Hartford told WVIT. "And we're doing this by being out here for a few hours [to] clean up the community, pick up the trash."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The station noted that the group members didn't appear to be open carrying, which is banned in Connecticut; rather, organizers earlier told WVIT that armed patrollers would be licensed and carrying concealed weapons.

“We are not vigilantes," Lewis told the station. "We are a group of people that are disciplined and trained. We go to the shooting range."

The brigade also met to discuss gun rights as well as how to get a permit and the practices of safe carry, personal use, and storage of guns, WVIT said.

Lewis added to the station that the brigade is planning on conducting the patrols a few times a week: “We'll be patrolling at night. So it's not just a one-time thing. It's going to be on a consistent basis."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

While organizers have argued the patrols are needed and say they plan to expand the patrols to other parts of the city, WVIT said their efforts face opposition, including from an anti-violence group and Hartford Mayor Arunan Arulampalam.

"Our community has seen so much pain and trauma, and what we need is for those who love this city to do the hard work of healing that pain," the mayor wrote in part regarding the Self-Defense Brigade, according to the station.

The Democratic mayor added to WVIT that Hartford doesn't need people walking the streets with guns and trying to take the law into their own hands.

Armed citizen patrols start in Hartford amid violence concernsyoutu.be

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