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CTA Attack Suspects Have Charges Upgraded to Hate Crime

By Prescott Carlson in News on Feb 24, 2010 10:20PM

Photo by p2wy
Three men accused of attacking another man on the CTA Red Line probably thought they were home free after a judge at Cook County Criminal Court dismissed their misdemeanor assault charges yesterday. Instead, it turned out their troubles have just begun -- upon leaving the courtroom, the trio were re-arrested for the attack, but this time they were charged with felony hate crimes.

The victim, Daniel Hauff, says that on January 10 of this year Sean Little, Benjamin Eder, and Kevin McAndrew started getting physical with him when Hauff intervened on behalf of a young man that Little was pushing and calling anti-gay slurs. Hauff claims the violence escalated to the point where his face was bloodied, and that the men repeatedly called him a "stupid faggot" during the assault. It's because of that language that the three may find themselves convicted under Illinois' hate crime statute, which states in part:

A person commits hate crime when, by reason of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals, regardless of the existence of any other motivating factor or factors, he commits assault, battery, aggravated assault, misdemeanor theft, criminal trespass to residence, misdemeanor criminal damage to property, criminal trespass to vehicle, criminal trespass to real property, mob action or disorderly conduct... or harassment by telephone... or harassment through electronic communications.

Hauff's attorney, Erik Newton, said in a statement that he is "grateful to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, her Chief of Staff, Dan Kirk, Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Coleman, LGBT liaison Anne Huffman, and the Chicago Police Department for their thorough investigation of this case and their decision to charge the men that attacked Mr. Hauff with felony hate crimes. We look forward to the State’s Attorney’s vigorous prosecution of the defendants and eventual vindication of Mr. Hauff’s rights as well as the protection of Chicago’s LGBT community."