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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Ald. James Cappleman Put In Chokehold, Beaten With Table After Confronting Men He Says Were Drinking On Uptown Corner

"I know the individual who assaulted me," Cappleman said. The attack happened after the alderman tried to remove a small table from the corner. One of the men said the table belonged to them.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) at a City Council meeting in February 2020.
Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Ald. James Cappleman (46th) was attacked in Uptown Saturday night after he said he tried to break up a group of people drinking on the corner of Racine and Leland avenues.

Police said the neighborhood’s alderman was “struck with a blunt object” during a disturbance around 7:15 p.m. Saturday in the 4700 block of North Racine Avenue. Cappleman told the Tribune he believes he was hit repeatedly with part of a table he was hauling away from the corner.

He told CBS Chicago his husband had already cleared out garbage cans being used as chairs by the men drinking on the corner. Cappleman returned and picked up a small table and began to carry it away. A “highly intoxicated” man got up from the ground and told the alderman it was his table. Cappleman said it wasn’t and the man grabbed the table and they fought over before it broke, he told CBS.

At one point, Cappleman was put into a chokehold and hit with the table, the Tribune reported.

Police spokesman Tom Ahern said in a tweet that the alderman declined medical treatment and the attacker was taken into custody.

The alderman on Sunday issued a statement about the incident, saying he knew his attacker and had been responding to a text from an upset resident about a group of intoxicated people near Racine and Leland avenues when the attack occurred.

“I know the individual who assaulted me,” Cappleman wrote. “I have sat with him numerous times to help him address his addiction issues that have also led to him being without a job and a home. This man’s life has been overtaken with his addiction. I continue to push for interventions that get people the real help they need.”

Cappleman said complaints about intoxicated people on the corner have picked up in recent months, making neighbors living nearby feel unsafe.

“The community suffers when this type of behavior takes over a street corner,” Cappleman said. “Many residents who live near the intersection of Leland and Racine do not feel safe walking down the sidewalk in their neighborhood while this activity is happening. We must remain mindful of what these individuals and families are going through as well.”

Cappleman, who said he’s “completely fine” and has just minor injuries, vowed to be more careful when responding to constituent calls in the future.

Charges against the alderman’s attacker are pending, police said Sunday.

This is at least the third time Cappleman has been attacked since he was elected in 2011.

In May 2012, Uptown woman Kang Young was charged with battery for shoving Cappleman after he swept up the breadcrumbs she had spread for pigeons, police said.

In August 2012, Cappleman said he was pushed into some bushes by a woman who had been arrested nearly 400 times in her lifetime. The woman, Shermain Miles, was charged for assault in the incident and served nearly a year in prison.

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