Armed self-defense group patrols the streets in Hartford to combat violent crime

A mostly black neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut, has turned to a group of armed citizens to help patrol their streets. They hope the move cuts down on the prevalence of violent crime in the area, according to the New York Post.

The armed group calls themselves the “Self-Defense Brigade,” which is made up of around 40 legally armed citizens. Members volunteer to patrol Hartford’s North End and wear body cameras. They generally patrol the streets on nights and weekends.

‘I believe in self-defense, but I will try to defuse it in every way possible.’

The group also has access to drones and 75 home surveillance systems that help them keep an eye on things. By monitoring these feeds, they can pinpoint where potential crimes are being committed.

The group’s founder, Cornell Lewis, pointed the finger at Democrats in charge, saying: “The Democratic machine in Hartford is either unwilling or unable, incapable of doing it, and people are paying their tax dollars, and they’re not really getting any kind of service.”

“So we want the people to understand, number one, self-defense is not a dirty word.”

However, the group has not gone without criticism. Hartford’s Democratic Mayor Arunan Arulampalam has condemned the group over concerns that it will devolve into vigilantism, per the report.

“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, not walk around our streets with guns trying to take the law into their own hands,” Arulampalam said in a statement to Fox News.

A second report noted that Lewis hopes to train people to learn self-defense in situations where the police are unwilling to. He said he also believes in de-escalation.

“I believe in self-defense, but I will try to defuse it in every way possible,” Lewis said. “But if it’s clear that you’re going to attack, or you pull out some weapons, then we have a right to defend ourselves.”

Lewis has also denied that members of the group are vigilantes. He insisted that all members are trained in discipline legal security, according to the Post.

While all the members of the group have legal permits to carry concealed weapons, Lewis mentioned that he is a fourth-degree black belt and has also trained members in hand-to-hand combat.

The group started patrolling the streets after two men were left dead in from of the Walk in the Light Church of God last February.

Archbishop Dexter Burke said, “I feel that we are really putting a dent on crime. I think that we’ve exceeded 100% in terms of success.”

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