Felony hate charges brought against RF resident in alleged racial battery in Jewel lot

Rob Palley, local developer, in bond hearing today

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By Maria Maxham

Staff Reporter

A statement from the village of River Forest on June 4 announced that resident Rob Palley has been charged with one count of a hate crime and one count of aggravated battery by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office after an incident yesterday in the Jewel parking lot.

After an investigation by the River Forest Police Department and prosecutors, the Cook County Felony Review Unit recommended the charges.

"Mr. Palley is alleged to have committed a battery against a female, African-American woman in the parking lot of a Jewel Foods store (7525 W. Lake St.) following a verbal exchange that, according to the victim and witnesses, was racially-motivated," reads the statement.

Mr. Palley will participate in an online bond hearing this afternoon.

"We have no tolerance for hate in River Forest," said River Forest village president Cathy Adduci. "We appreciate and support the thorough work of our River Forest Police Department as well as the cooperation of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to hold those who engage in criminal activity that is motivated by hate fully accountable. And, we applaud the witnesses that helped the investigators determine the facts in this case so that felony charges could be brought against this individual. Finally, we're pleased that officials from Jewel-Osco cooperated immediately by providing video footage, which helped us move forward quickly on this case."

This is a developing story. More updates to follow.

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Reader Comments

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William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 1:19 PM

In general, Steve, if convicted, a person's prior criminal history and other factors like cooperation usually determine if prison is imposed at sentencing. If found guilty on both counts, sentence would most likely be concurrent. It'll be interesting to see if the ASA takes this to a grand jury for formal indictment, and if, given the existence of the video, the two sides agree to a plea deal. I assume Palley's innocence unless proven guilty, but the video looks sure bad.

George Smith  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 1:13 PM

And they will be concurrent and are probationable

George Smith  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 1:10 PM

Agg batt public way is a Class 3 (2-5). Hate Crime is a Class 4 (1-3)

Steve Marseille  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 1:03 PM

Thanks Jerry and William. I am newly back in Illinois (grew up here) and RF after 20 years in other states so I'm foggy on these things. If convicted on both, can those sentences be served concurrently, or would the time be cumulative?

Jerry Norton  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 12:46 PM

Hate Crime is normally also a class 3 felony, punished by 2 to 5 years

Ed McDevitt from River Forest  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 12:46 PM

Maybe my jaw should not have dropped open as I read about this, but it did. It's not as if we don't know that a whole lot of racism lurks below the surface, but it usually comes out of hiding in subtle ways, sly comments and attitudes, not in open abuse and assault at a store so many of us shop at together. My black friends will, of course, not be surprised at this at all because they endure open and lurking racism all the time, in so many places. But this sort of seething hate still shocks us. It makes one cringe to wonder what it must have been like to be in the orbit of this hot cauldron, waiting for it to boil over before it happened. I apologize to every African-American person in our community, every African-American person who visits our community, for this egregious act. Is it my job to apologize for a whole community? Probably not, but I do. And if my apology offends and rankles those, who like this hateful man, don't wish to extend an apology, I'm afraid you're going to have to be offended and rankled. I, meanwhile, stand with the woman who was attacked and with anyone who expects respectful response from your neighbors who shop with you.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 12:42 PM

In this case, the aggravated battery is most likely a Class 3 felony, carrying a two to five year prison sentence. Though it can be more serious, depending on circumstances.

Steve Marseille from River Forest  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 12:20 PM

Good. Does anyone know what the penalty ranges are for conviction on Hate Crime charges (and Aggravated Assault charges, as well)?

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