By Megan Dooley
An ugly incident which marred an otherwise perfect Fourth of July celebration in Oak Park ended with one Chicago man arrested and another city resident hospitalized with a head injury.
As the large crowd of fireworks fans dispersed in all directions from the area near Oak Park and River Forest High School just after 10 p.m., a foot chase and a fight occurred at the intersection of Lake Street and Ridgeland Avenue.
Ramen Griffin, 24, of the 5800 block of W. Huron in Chicago was arrested and charged with battery, after reportedly stomping on the victim's head while he was lying on the ground after a fall.
The victim, a 31-year-old male whose address is listed on the 300 block of S. Damen in Chicago, was hospitalized with cuts and a minor head injury. He was hospitalized for two nights for observation and then released.
Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds said a sergeant in the department was patrolling the area of Lake and Ridgeland when he observed the victim running across Ridgeland, being chased by the offender. According to Reynolds, the sergeant then saw the victim fall, landing facedown on the ground.
"[The sergeant] observed the offender stomp the victim's head with his right foot and then begin to walk away," Reynolds said.
The sergeant immediately took the offender into custody.
The victim was later taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
Crowds of people were walking near the scene after the fireworks show ended, and a number of witnesses reported seeing two suspects in custody, but Reynolds refuted that claim.
"We conducted extensive interviews and based on the info we've obtained, this is an incident between two individuals," he said.
Reynolds also refuted reports that the incident involved firearms.
"These are two individuals that are not Oak Park residents that had an exchange between the two of them and the offender was arrested immediately," Reynolds said, adding that the incident stemmed from an ongoing dispute between the two men that began before the battery occurred.
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