Three gay bashings in the last three weeks--and police failure to treat the attacks as hate crimes--have prompted the victims to speak out in a press conference in front of the Halsted/Addison police station at noon, Friday, July 2, convened by the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN). Thanks to protest at the last Police Board meeting, one of these crimes subsequently has been upgraded to a hate crime.
CABN feels that in a city where police killings of racial minorities have made nationwide news, police tolerance of hate crimes against other minorities should come as no surprise. The deliberate attempt to downgrade these crimes is an insult to the victims and suggests the Mayor’s office is trying to present a false image of safety to attract out-of-town visitors.
Among the speakers at the press conference will be:
· Kenneth McGill, a Black gay man attacked by a knife-wielding suspect outside of the Red Line Argyle “L” station on the night following Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade (1:45 a.m., Monday, June 26). McGill reports the attacker taunted “If you don’t give anything up, you faggot, I’ll kill you. I’m tired of you. You faggots had your day.” McGill was slashed on the head, left wrist, and bruised. Police called to the scene were dismissive when McGill noted the attack was a hate crime. In classic blame-the-victim style, one officer asked “What did you do to provoke this?”
· An attack on two gay men one block south of the Addison and Halsted police station, where the four attackers hit one of the men over the head with a 2x4. While the victims wish to remain anonymous, the attack was witnessed by Xavier Yager, himself a bashing victim last summer. The attack occurred two days before this year’s Gay Pride Parade, a stone’s throw from the parade route itself (Halsted & Cornelia Streets, 2:30 a.m., Friday, June 25).
· Mike Riley, called “faggot” and spat upon while riding the Red Line “L” near the Bryn Mawr stop at 4 a.m., Saturday, June 12. The CTA conductor’s refusal to intervene at Riley’s request allowed the incident to escalate. Riley was punched and kicked while on the floor of the train car, and despite having the suspect in hand, who had a previous record, the police refused to arrest him. Thanks to protest, police now have upgraded this attack to a hate crime.
Police failure to report hate crimes is professional misconduct, and allows the problem to continue and escalate. CABN demands that the police officers involved be punished for their gross misconduct so that the message will be sent that future attempts to cover-up hate crimes will not be tolerated.