Former Atlanta Police Chief Talks to Past and Present Gang Members in Chattanooga

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 6/12/2013 7:07 pm
Aaron Suttles, a former gang member, says, "All the stuff that's happening right now, all the killings and stuff, it's just too much.  It's gotten a lot worser than what it was."

Suttles knows just how bad Chattanooga's gang problem is.

He, himself, was a member of the Crips.

Suttles adds, "But now I'm not, I'm just me."

Suttles joined a Job for Life class at Hope for the Inner City to get out of trouble, and it worked.

He has since started his own landscaping business.

Eldrin Bell, a former Atlanta police chief, says, "They must become the best examples."

Hope for the Inner City brought Bell here to talk to past and present gang members about jobs and success in life.

We agreed not to show their faces on TV.

Bell adds, "Don't look at me as chief of police, because I started out just like you."

That was part of Bell's message.

He too has had family members killed by gun violence; he too was the product of a single parent household.

Bell adds, "The ghetto I may have been born in, but it wasn't born in me."

Bell says it took a single phrase to make him want to succeed, "The bottom wasn't made for you."

Now, this Jonesboro, Georgia resident has a different perspective on Chattanooga's gang problem.

He says the city can be healed with Mayor Andy Berke's plan.

Bell says, "I'm confident it will turn around."

Suttles is confident too, however, says it will take this to change the city.

Suttles adds, "You got the old G's that need to step up and holler at one another and that will be the only thing that will calm the situation that's going on now, down."

Former Chattanooga police detective, Napoleon Williams, was also at the meeting and offered to find jobs for the past and present gang members who showed up.

For more information Hope for the Inner City's job program, just go to http://hope4theinnercity.org/page/our-story/mission.
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