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by Karen Hawkins

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When Edgewater resident Eva* finally got away from the three women who attacked her at the Montrose Harbor celebration last Sunday, June 24, she thought her horrifying ordeal was finally over. But that was before she started dealing with the Chicago police department, she said.

"I cannot believe that they just did not care," she said of the officers. "I had to protect myself; all I had was the police."

*Eva has asked that her real name not be used.

She said she was enjoying herself at the Montrose party when she decided to walk with some friends to the bathroom. She was headed back to the stage area when the attack began.

"Next thing I know, someone has me by the hair. All I see is sky, and I'm going backward," she said. She hit the ground and felt things hitting her head.

"I was terrified, I was dazed. I kept being swirled around," she said. "I felt like I was going to die."

As she saw something being passed around;an object she later learned was a bottle that was used to hit her&emdash;she finally caught a good look at one of her attackers' faces. And it was a face she knew well, because it was someone who had attacked her months before at Biology Bar.

The past dispute had involved jealousy over a third woman, who, she was disappointed to discover, was involved in this attack. Those two, plus a third woman she didn't recognize, repeatedly hit and beat her, slashing her back and cutting away the bikini top she was wearing.

A crowd had started to gather, and she said, "I lost consciousness. I remember someone saying, 'Baby, you're bleeding. You're bleeding bad.'"

Eventually, her attackers began to scatter, but not before taking her purse. As she realized they were escaping, she ran after them, bleeding and now topless. Bystanders stopped her, giving her a shirt and calling the police.

She was relieved, she said, until the police arrived and were so dismissive of her.

"I had to make them go stop ( the attackers ) from leaving," she said, noting that she could see the three women trying to drive away.

The officers let her sit in a squad while they talked to the three women. She was then told that if she filed charges, her attackers had vowed to follow suit.

She stood her ground, asking that they be arrested and charged for attacking her. Despite her pleas, she said, the women were released. At presstime they had not been arrested.

In the meantime, officers had called an ambulance, which arrived before she could give her side of the story to police. Officers ordered her to get into the ambulance and give a report from the emergency room. When she insisted that she file a report first, officers decided that she had refused treatment and sent the ambulance away.

"By this point, I'm barely standing," she said.

She remembers the next few minutes as a flurry of attempts to get police to take down her story. One officer finally scolded her that they had taken a report, saying, "You keep repeating yourself. All of the things you've been yelling, that's what we put in the report."

"I just kept fighting for my rights," she said. "I had no weapons, all I had were words and that's all I used to protect myself."

Luckily, she had run into a friend, who stayed with her and helped her talk to the police. As her friend held her, Eva said one of the officers looked disgusted by their touching.

"How can you patrol our neighborhood and act like you can't stand us?" she said. "You might as well have the Ku Klux Klan patrol the South side."

Her friend finally walked her to a nearby hospital, where she waited two hours without being seen. Frustrated, she went home and headed straight to the state's attorney's office the next morning. On the way home from there, she felt woozy, and a stranger called an ambulance for her. There she learned she had a mild concussion and needed six stitches. In the days after the attack, her speech was impaired, and she has started to have migraines.

As she tries to make sense of the attack and its aftermath, Eva has found some humor in the situation.

"Thank God for ( hair ) weave, honey, because it saved my life," she said, adding that her hair extensions helped cushion the blows to her head.

She wants to pursue not only charges against her attackers, but complaints against the officers involved.

"They need sensitivity training," she said. "They're treating us like we're animals."

Police officials could not be reached for comment by presstime.

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