Oak Park police investigate post-fireworks battery

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By Megan Dooley

Staff Reporter

Click here to read the latest update on this story.

Oak Park police have confirmed that they have a suspect in custody following a July 4 battery incident that left one man hospitalized, but apart from that, details are few.

In an email to local media outlets, Commander LaDon Reynolds wrote: "We are investigating a battery that occurred around 10 p.m. on July 4; there was one person transported to the hospital. I have no further information at this time; we are still conducting interviews."

Reynolds confirmed that the incident occurred at the corner of Lake and Ridgeland, and that both the victim and suspect are males. The man in custody has not yet been charged with a crime. "We do have 72 hours to charge someone once we take them into custody," Reynolds said.

Chris Heeb, a St. Louis resident who is in Oak Park visiting friends, said he walked up on the scene after watching the Fourth of July fireworks with friends. "A gentleman was lying in the street, not moving at all," he said.

Heeb said police and paramedics had arrived and were trying to move people away from the scene, but no one seemed to be tending to the man lying on the ground.

About a block away, Heeb said he saw two black males being detained by officers against a police car. He said the two males appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s.

Lourdes Nicholls, the Oak Park resident who is hosting Heeb during his stay, said that she and her friends and family spread out on foot after the fireworks display ended. While not a witness to the battery or immediate aftermath, Nicholls said she had fallen behind, but was told of the incident when she came upon the scene a short time later.

"I was at Elmwood and Lake, and I saw ambulances coming," Nicholls said. "Ahead I saw a lot of police cars and activity, and then an ambulance was zooming to the intersection of Lake and Ridgeland. It drove away by the time I approached."

Nicholls said her friends were at the site, as were her husband and children.

Reader Comments

17 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: July 6th, 2011 5:28 PM

Two comments have been deleted from this thread. As with many stories in Oak Park, some readers may perceive an element of race in this incident. OK. You are welcome to discuss your thoughts. However, don't step off the curb and take off on some racist rant. Won't be tolerated. Dan Haley. Publisher

DB  

Posted: July 6th, 2011 4:28 PM

The fireworks were awesome and Oak Park Rocks... The only request I have for next year is to make the police more of a presence on Lake Street, east of the fireworks. Have them situated on each intersection down to Austin.... This is about planning to avoid things like the one above.... Be Proactive, not reactive!

Dave from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2011 3:57 PM

Didn't we once have a family fest at Lake and Oak Park? Wasn't that shut because of our inability to handle outside gang elements? Of course, when VMA wants to bring a low-income project to Madison and Grove, no one can talk about any possible impact. We get calculated hostility to questions. Oak Park's biggest problem is denial about the challenges we face as an island among the poor. Police who won't talk about reality is our self-delusion. So, VMA, what are you going to do about this?

OPResident  

Posted: July 6th, 2011 12:21 PM

The Oak Park police are really downplaying this incident and their lack of policing. There were at least 10-15 young African-American males involved in the melee. No Oak Park police were even around until after it was over and the perps were already gone, running east. Wow. However, Office Murphy of the OPPD didn't have any problem harrassing residents standing on the corner of Lake and Ridgeland after the incident. Day late and a dollar short there, coppers.

Observer from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2011 7:48 AM

Thank you to the two women who came out of the crowd to help the victim and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. The cop at the intersection was wrestling someone into handcuffs before the crowd even realized the victim was bleeding. And the rest of the guys wearing snow-white-tshirts all hot-footed it out of the area. I sure hope these punks' stupidity doesn't result in the cancellation of one of our nicer community events.

Happy  

Posted: July 6th, 2011 5:51 AM

Too much rif raf at Midnight Madness from outside of Oak Park.

Violet Aura  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 7:28 PM

@John M.: You have me confused with someone else on here dissing the police. I simply stated that this sort of thing hasn't seemed to happen in the past, just like the shooting across from the Main library, or the drive-by near Holmes earlier in the year. I was remarking how Chicago has toned down its festivities and I suspect it has to do with recent mob activites, shootings and whatnot. Maybe you could enlighten me as to why Midnight Madness was axed...It was called "crowd control."

Happy  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 6:53 PM

John, an actual pat on the back for the PD? I'm surprised. Glad you have more than just criticism for the Village. Does anyone know if the offenders or the victim are Oak Parker's?

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 6:31 PM

Violet - Your way over the top on this. 25,000 people from all over Cook County attended the firework and everything was orderly -- in fact it was downright pleasant. A couple of youths fight and the fireworks get blamed. After the fireworks I walked with my family including five grandchildren east to Ridgeland and South Blvd to get our car. There were sirens and police cars moving quickly and that was about it. The police handled crowd control masterfully throughout the night.

Reggid from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 6:23 PM

@Violet: Not sure I agree with you about video games, unless you were being tongue-in-cheek, but there was definitely a disconnect between the group of idiots acting like animals and the reality of a guy getting knocked unconscious in the street with crowds of families around. All the punks were ranting about the guy "getting knocked the f- out," as if it was cool. I just hope OP isn't going to start seeing mob actions like the lakefront has been experiencing. OP cops were great, though.

Violet Aura  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 6:18 PM

@Reggid: This doesn't surprise me. I have seen this in the daylight at Scoville Park and the area in front of the Main library. Yes, I think this behavior is symbolic of a disconnect and possibly they are programmed from those satanic games which promote mindless violence. They used to have Midnight Madness and closed it down when "too many people" showed up. Now I surmise that a similar scenario was the real concern. So the many are deprived because of the few...Not a good thing...

Reggid from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 6:02 PM

Was right there when it happened, but the crowd of people leaving the fireworks blocked the view. Saw some young hoods who seemed to be jumping into the mix, and then there were a group of young women and other hoods standing at the corner yelling and carrying on like idiots about the guy getting "knocked out" like it was a video game or something. Good thing the cops and EMTS were there for the fireworks. Not a shock - we watched the group of punks head east until they crossed Austin.

Violet Aura  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 5:47 PM

Well isn't that just special? So now the time-honored tradition of the OP fireworks is now yet another magnet for knuckleadswho don't know how to have a good time and not create problems. I firmly believe that the flash mobs and incident where the North Ave. beach was closed are why the July 3rd fireworks show was cancelled and two smaller ones were held instead, because of that shooting a few years back plus these current incidents.

Don Hosek from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 4:07 PM

My wife and I were present. There was a melee involving a number of youths on Lake Street. At one point a young man was on the ground being kicked. I started walking toward the group to break things up (dumb) while my wife tried to find a police officer. There was no police presence at all until well after the fight had moved further down the street. & Medill Dropout, there was no firearm discharged while we were there.

Peter C from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 2:50 PM

We came upon the scene afterwards but before the ambulance arrived. A police car was on hand and a young man was placed in the squad. Contrary to the report, there at least one person who was tending to the victim on the ground - and did not appear to be a police officer or paramedic. Also, the police seemed to focus on the scene and seemed to miss the two young men who sprinted south on Ridgeland as police cars whizzed by heading north towards Lake St. I suspect more were involved.

Medill Dropout  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 2:45 PM

How about getting a response from the OPPD whether a firearm was discharged, as the witness you interviewed said?

Resident  

Posted: July 5th, 2011 2:36 PM

Was OP patch first with the story? Come on WJ, you can do better. Lead.

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