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Boystown residents debate violence, loitering and gay youth

Lengthy CAPS meeting long on audience comment, short on solutions

Chicago, IL — 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney and 23rd District Commander Kathleen Boehmer addressed resident concerns over neighborhood violence during a packed Community Alternative Policing meeting on Wednesday night.

Alderman Tom Tunney addresses crowd during CAPS meeting :: spike king
Alderman Tom Tunney addresses crowd during CAPS meeting 
credit :: spike king
Residents of the North Side neighborhood, which is the central hub to Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, have grown increasingly alarmed after a video of a man being beaten and stabbed hit the Internet earlier this week. 

As Gender JUST protested outside, a crowd estimated at over 500 people, ranging from neighborhood residents, business owners and patrons, LGBT gay youth and their supporters and Chicago media, packed into the auditorium of the Inter-American Elementary School, 851 W. Waveland Ave. 

The meeting was opened by Chicago Police Sgt. Beth Giltmier, who lead the discussion. Tunney read a statement he issued earlier in the day, where he called on Chicago Police to create a special "entertainment detail" to assist beat police in congested entertainment districts, including Boystown. 

One resident was booed when he called for the resignation of Tunney, who was joined at the front of the auditorium by 46th Ward Alderman James Capplema, Commander Boehmer, LGBT police liaison Jose Rios, two 23rd District beat officers and number of other representatives. 

John Cunningham, who along with his partner Rob Sall recorded the disturbing video, addressed the crowd and praised police. The couple announced plans for a police appreciation party.

One speaker called out the Chicago Police for downplaying the most recent stabbing attack and then he lists a number of other violent attacks that have happened in the neighborhood since June 1. 

Two-minute statements from dozens of audience participants continued for nearly 2 hours, with race and racism making up a majority of the contentious discussion.

"There needs to be civility," declared one attendee to applause. "We're talking race, not racism."

"This is racism," retorted an African American man. "There are no resources in other areas of the city for queer youth."

Tempers began to flare at about one hour into the meeting as public comments were often meet with vocal reaction. 

One supporter of the LGBT youth was booed when asking city representatives for additional money to fund citywide programs for LGBT youth.

"We spent 30 million dollars on the Center on Halsted," shouted someone in the crowd to loud cheers. 

Roscoe's owner Jim Ludwig said everyone needs to respect the neighborhood. He told the youth they are welcome. His comments were interrupted by disruptive youth who were growing restless in the audience. 

"Make the Center what it was meant to be," Boystown resident Dennis Sneyers told the crowd.

At 8:55 p.m. the meeting, which started at 7 p.m., was called to a close with nearly one-third of the audience having already exited during the lengthy comment session. 

Many in the crowd said the meeting was long on comment and short on solutions. 

Noting there wasn't time to fully discuss solutions, Sgt. Giltmier promised more meetings to address the issue of loitering and violence in Boystown.

Commander Boehmer ended the meeting by telling the crowd there would be additional police resources on the street between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The next CAPS meeting is scheduled for August 3. 
 
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Town Hall Police have been anti-Gay for years and drop investigations on beatings, assaults as well, as murders.
Posted by maleman on Wed, 7/6/2011 10:38 PM
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hmph
Posted by Ron Stowe on Wed, 7/6/2011 10:44 PM
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So why not gather a group of persons interested in patrolling the streets (in small groups) with whistles, cell phones, maybe even a video camera, and dressed in a uniform of sorts (maybe a t shirt or a cap) ? Volunteers to keep boystown safe from criminal elements - no matter their gender, race, or sexual identity/preferance? I seem to remember a group called the Pink Angels in NYC a number of years ago who did this (though they didnt have cell phones with camera or video options) and it helped to keep their streets safe.
Posted by Anastasia Beaverhousen on Thu, 7/7/2011 12:17 AM
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Thanks for the report, I was out of town and very interested in learning about the CAPS meeting.
Posted by ChicCoyote on Thu, 7/7/2011 10:17 AM
I really do feel for the community..I'm from Michigan,and vacation in the Chicago Lakeview area often! I'm a Black male btw,who identify myself with my race,so this isn't a issue! The issue is the amount of Children running around lakeview during the summer months causing riff raff, some of which should be at home under there parents supervision,but instead there out all times of the night following there sisters,brothers,cousins, that are up to NO GOOD! No No there's no fingers being pointed here..its just plain obvious! There's a area I try to avoid at all cause when I frequent that area and that @ the intersection of Belmont/ Clark in the front of Dunkin Donuts and also near the train station..Populated with a bunch of kids acting a fool walking in the street,hanging around on sidewalks, Dancing in the street,Starting fights with innocent people! I think its sad some of these Children don't realize how silly they look ,but SOME don't know any better and think its cool! What would probably make a difference is if these children had a job to occupy there time instead of walking up in down the streets all day and night! They need hobbies, and someone Positive to look up to!!
Posted by Dante759 on Thu, 7/7/2011 4:15 PM
I like it Anastasia. Where do I sign up? Something like this needs to be put into action
Posted by Don Davis on Thu, 7/7/2011 4:49 PM
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Im sorry I thought this meeting was the biggest waist of time. If CAPS meetings are run like this one was no wonder we have an escalating problem, There was no organization, no agenda, and instead of telling everyone what measures the police were taking to prevent further crime. They let any idiot that had an opinion or assumption stand up and spout off racism and blame. The only thing I was able to take away from this meeting is that the troubled youth who have come into our neighborhood were demanding respect and shelter. They were demanding the community to do more for them. I don't know who they think they are but to gain respect I think the youth need to prove to the neighborhood that they deserve to be here.
Posted by 24yearresident on Thu, 7/7/2011 6:07 PM
I agree with Anastasia and Don. A Pink Angels group would be great! However keeping a volunteer base that walk the streets in the hours most needed (12-5am) will be very difficult.

24yearresident also has a great point...these kids need to respect the area. They should volunteer for the Center, like a lot of people who helped build it, and maybe that would help them feel more connected to the community/area. "Diversity is welcomed. Violence is not!"
Posted by thilbrands on Wed, 7/13/2011 8:48 PM
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