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Man attacked in apparent hate crime in Lakeview
by Matt Simonette
2014-11-02

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A Chicago man was attacked in the Lakeview neighborhood the evening of Oct. 31, and says his assailant used anti-gay language before striking him.

Richard Sypniewski of Chicago was by himself, leaving a party in the 3400 block of North Halsted Street at about 10:30 p.m. Turning onto a side street in order to avoid the Halloween crowds, he says that a man approached him from behind and said, "Hey faggot."

Startled, Sypniewski turned around when he heard the remark, at which point the man punched him.

"He just clocked me," Syypniewski said. "Before I knew it, I was down on the ground."

The man took Sypniewski's cell phone, but not his wallet, he said. Sypniewski added that he was not even able to see the assailant's face.

Sypniewski hailed a cab and returned to his home, where he spoke with Chicago Police Department officers and filed a report. He said one officer told him that the incident was likely a hate crime, since his wallet was not taken. Though Sypniewski sustained multiple injuries to his face, he did not seek medical treatment, obtaining advice from friends who are physicians instead.

"I think that, the way all the politicians and police talk, they think crime around there is getting better," said Sypniewski. "But it's not—it's a lot worse."

Many residents of the Town Hall Police District have long complained that policing levels in Lakeview have been inadequate, with small numbers of beat officers and long delays in response times. Police and city officials maintain that crime in the area is diminishing and say that replacement staffing procedures often fail to keep up with officers leaving through normal reasons of attrition.


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