Sunday, May 20, 2012

Can racists seek hate crimes charges against attackers

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Police in Tinley Park and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force continue to investigate the violent brawl that took place Saturday afternoon at the Ashford House Restaurant, an Irish diner at 7990 W. 159th Street in Tinley Park on the border with Orland Park.

Mayor Ed Zabrocki, in an interview with Radio Chicagoland, said that police are still investigating but believe that some of the victims were members of a White Supremicists group. They were having a lunch meeting at the restaurant when a group of 15 to 18 anti-White supremicist individuals, youth wearing hoods and carrying bats and hammers, converged on the restaurant meeting and attacked the other activists.

Zabrocki said that five people were in custody when their car was spotted by an alert female member of the Tinley park Police Department. The other suspects involved in the attack fled but police believe the arrested suspects could lead to identifying the entire group.

Zabrocki said that police believe the group that attacked the alleged supremicists were members of the Anti-Racist Action group. Facebook shows a listing for more than a dozen such groups named Anti-Racist Action in the United States. The group, if it is the one involved, describes itself as:

The Anti-Racist Action Network (ARA) is a decentralized network of anti-fascist and anti-racists in North America. ARA activists organize actions to disrupt neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and help organize activities against fascist and racist ideologies. ARA groups also oppose sexism,homophobia, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and the pro-life movement. ARA originated from the skinhead and punk subcultures.HistoryAnti-Racist Action was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the late 1980s by members of the anti-fascist skinhead group Minneapolis Baldies and other activists. ARA then expanded to several communities in the United States and Canada. Members of Love and Rage, a revolutionary anarchist organization, played a major role in building ARA groups and the ARA Network in the 1990s, and the group's structure was formalized in 1994 at the first Midwest Anti-Fascist Network conference, in Columbus, Ohio.

"About 15 to 1 yesterday, there was a group of 10 to 12 people eating int he restaurant. Most were men maybe one or two men. Someone made a reservation for them and they were going to have a meeting," Zabrocki said.

"About 15 individuals came in with masks on hoods, black hoods if I recall, and they proceeded to beat up the 10 or 12 people who were meeting there. There was some confusion because there was a bridal shower going on in an adjacent room but it had nothing to do with this It was not gang related."

Zabrocki said the information was "kind of speculative" at this point.

"A lot of those folks from looking at their addresses were not even from Illinois," Zabrocki said.

"The group that came into it, I'm not sure because there were a number of names kicked around. It was an anti-racist group, anti-Homophobic group. The first group had a web site and the other group infiltrated it. It was not racial in the usual sense. No Middle Eastern connection," Zabrocki said during the radio show.

Zabrocki called it an isolated incident.

"A very sharp female sergeant got a call that they were looking for a particular car and she was very observant and she spotted the car at 159th and Harlem," he said. "She pulled the car over and got five of them. This could lead to the rest of them. They are in our lock-up and I am not sure of their status at this point."

Zabrocki said the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force came out in force, in part because they were on the ready because of the NATO protests.

"I believe there were nine people hurt, six refused treatment and three were treated<' Zabrocki said.

Click here to listen to the radio interview (about 25 minutes into the Radio Podcast.)

The irony here is that the victims, who reportedly are involved in White Supremicy issues, could file racism charges against the alleged attackers who were allegedly reported to be members of an anti-racist group.


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