Chicago police and the CTA were grossly negligent in their response to a gay bashing on an “L” train early last Saturday morning, charge the victim, Mike Riley, 35, and the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN). Riley and CABN will confront the Police Board with their charges at the Board’s monthly meeting 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 17 at police headquarters, 11th and State Streets, 5th floor auditorium.
Riley and CABN charge the CTA with refusing to diffuse the situation before it became violent and Chicago Police with failing to arrest the assailant and treat the incident as a hate crime.
Riley reports that the incident began when another passenger began mumbling and then yelling anti-gay slurs at Riley after he entered and sat down in the lead car of a southbound Red Line “L” train at the Granville station. At first “I chose to ignore him,” hoping the harassment would stop, said Riley. But after the other passenger grew increasingly agitated and began spitting on him, Riley stood up and pulled an emergency cord opening the door to stop the train.
When the CTA conductor exited his cab, Riley asked him to intervene. The conductor replied that his “only responsibility was going from one station to the next.” The approximately six to ten other passengers in the car offered no assistance.
After the conductor started the train again the 200 lb., white assailant began punching Riley, eventually kicking him repeatedly after he fell to the floor of the “L” car. Riley suffering a broken tooth requiring root canal surgery, two black eyes and numerous welts on the head, arms and trunk of his body.
At the Bryn Mawr station Chicago police entered the “L” car and ordered Riley to get up off the floor. Police were dismissive of Riley’s charge that he was the victim of a hate crime. They also failed to arrest the suspect, who CABN has since learned has a previous arrest record.
The recent shootings of LaTonya Haggerty and Robert Russ demonstrate that Chicago police are perpetrators of deadly hate crimes against African-Americans. Clearly the hate also extends to tolerating hate crimes against gays and other minorities.
CABN is disgusted that hate-motivated violence is downplayed by police in the apparent attempt to create an image that the CTA and City are safe for tourists. We demand that the police officers be punished and that the CTA take responsibility for the safety of its passengers and establish a policy directing employees to diffuse confrontations before they become violent.