SOUTH LOOP — A woman and man attacked two teens who chalked “Biden 2020” Wednesday at a South Loop park in an incident caught on video, according to the video and a victim.
Alexis Hadac, 19, said the attack left her with several injuries. She’s trying to find the woman and man who attacked her and her friend, Haylee Sandoval, 19, as they were babysitting children Wednesday at the park.
Hadac said she’s received support from South Loop residents, including people who said the woman has harassed them before. Neighbors are planning a socially distant sidewalk party Saturday to show support for Hadac and Sandoval.
About 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Hadac and Sandoval were babysitting and playing with bubbles and chalk at Chicago Women’s Park & Garden, 1801 S. Indiana Ave., when they wrote “Biden 2020” on the sidewalk next to a “Black Lives Matter” sign that had already been there.
Hadac said a woman who had previously passed by came back around, read the signs and said, “What is this bulls–t?” Hadac and Sandoval felt uncomfortable since they had children with them.
The woman, who was with a young man, told Hadac and Sandoval the chalk art was insulting vandalism and didn’t belong in a public park.
Watch the video here:
In the video, Hadac defends her message and says there’s freedom of expression.
The woman, who tells them her husband is police officer, says, “This is my park,” and ask the teens what they pay in taxes before saying, “I’m sure I pay a lot more than you.”
The exchange grew heated, the video shows. Hadac pointed out the woman was coming up to them while not wearing a mask, and the video shows the woman then go up to Hadac and hit her.
Hadac asked Sandoval to call the police as she followed the woman and the young man, who tried to walk away.
But the video shows the woman then turn around and walk back up to Hadac. The two appear to get into a struggle. Screaming can be heard, and Hadac repeatedly yells for someone to call the police before the video abruptly ends.
Hadac said the woman grabbed her hair and hit her multiple times before she was able to push her off.
The young man then came up to Hadac and threw her to the ground, she said.
“Once he threw me on the floor, he started stepping on me, kicking and punching me, [so] my friend jumped on this guy’s back,” Hadac said. “He started kicking and stepping on her and then he ran.”
During the fight, Sandoval’s phone fell and the woman grabbed it, Hadac said. Hadac said she got up and followed the woman again in an attempt to keep track of her while waiting for the police and to get the phone back.
In the meantime, Hadac said, the woman told her she was calling her husband, claiming she was attacked by Hadac.
Hadac followed the woman five or six blocks until a man in a police uniform met them. Hadac thinks the man was the woman’s husband. He told her the police were waiting for her around the corner, but they didn’t arrive for another few minutes. By then, the woman and young man were gone and police were not able to track them down, Hadac said.
Hadac filed a police report.
According to the report, Hadac and Sandoval were in the park when the woman and man confronted them and the woman “struck one of the female victims in the face while the other male offender grabbed the victim from behind and struck her in the face.” The man then “pushed the second female victim to the ground and struck her with a closed fist” before he and the woman fled, police said.
Detectives are investigating, police said.
Hadac said the experience was hurtful emotionally and physically. She said she has a mild concussion and swelling in one of her elbows and pain in her back, neck and knee.
She said she wants to know who the woman and young man are and wants to press charges against them for assault.
“I want them both to be arrested and I want her to realize she does not have the privilege she assumes she does,” she said. “She is not better than anyone else and she is not above the law.
“The way she became condescending so quickly just shows that she thought she was better than us because she feels safe that way — she feels like she is able to react the way she does to people without any repercussion.”
Hadac posted the video to South Loop Facebook pages. Seven neighbors and three babysitters who frequent the park and nearby stores reached out to say they have had similar verbal altercations with the woman, though none of them were physical, Hadac said.
Scott Monaghan, one of the moderators of the Facebook group South Loop Community Public Safety, said he was horrified to hear this happened in such a family-friendly neighborhood, and at a park where he regularly takes his own child.
Monaghan decided to host a community sidewalk party 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the park to show support for Hadac and make it known the community welcomes diversity and freedom of expression.
Monaghan, who has lived in the neighborhood for five years, said he has never seen the attacker before but wants her to be held accountable. He called the incident out of the norm and wants people to know the neighborhood will not stand for hurtful behavior that makes others feel unsafe.
“The event is a show of support for Alexis to let her know that we as a neighborhood take seriously what happened and that she is welcomed here and that anyone is welcome in a Chicago public park,” Monaghan said. “Using chalk in Chicago public parks is something you should feel safe and comfortable doing.”
Monaghan said the South Loop has had a difficult year between summer looting and the takedown of the Columbus statue, creating a divide within the community. And with the election stress, he said there has been some tension between people who support President Donald Trump and those who do not.
“Those two events really cleaved apart a tense truth among white middle-class folks to not talk about politics,” he said.
Saturday’s socially-distant chalk party aims to bring together people and recreate a sense of unity for a community whose members used to be very comfortable with each other, Monaghan said.
Hadac helped plan the event and said it’s her way to show South Loop is a place that welcomes everyone with open arms. She also wants to express her gratitude for the way the community stepped up to help her with resources, advice and support.
“I want to make it clear this is a diverse and inclusive community,” she said. “Everyone has the freedom of opinion, freedom of speech and freedom to believe what they believe.”
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