Chicago Police call weekend stabbing in Boystown isolated, Tom Tunney under fire

Wed. July 6, 2011 8:48 AM by News Staff

New details, including venue change, on CAPS meeting planned for Wednesday

Chicago, IL - Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are expected at the regularly planned monthly CAPS meeting Wednesday night, July 6, in Boystown as residents are concerned and alarmed over increased violence in the neighborhood.

The concern involves three violent attacks in as many weeks on the streets of the otherwise non violent neighborhood that is the central hub to Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

In the latest attack on Sunday night, a 25-year-old man was stabbed shortly before midnight at Halsted and Aldine and it was all caught on tape.

The disturbing video shows the man being punched and kicked by nearly a dozen African American youth, while onlookers cheer them on.

"It should be noted that this is the only reported incident in this community in recent weeks when a group of individuals has been involved," 23rd District Commander Kathleen Boehmer said at a news conference Tuesday night. "This is still a good neighborhood."

The recent violence has prompted over 2,000 people on Facebook to join "Taking Back Boystown," a page that discusses the increased violence in the area.

Many posts on that page indicate the attack is a representation of a greater debate coming to a boil. Residents complain the problems are due to large groups of young people from outside the neighborhood loitering throughout the area.

Critics have blamed the Center on Halsted, an LGBT community center located at Halsted and Waveland, for the influx of young people, many minority LGBT youth who find safety and acceptance at the Center, which includes job-training courses and mentoring programs.

In a statement released Tuesday, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, who was re-elected last fall, said he was "extremely concerned" over the recent attacks in Boystown.

Some have called Tunney's response to the increased neighborhood violence too late. In an unscientific poll on the "BoystownChicago" Facebook page, an overwhelming majority say Tunny is out of touch with what's going on.

The monthly beat meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6. In anticipation of a larger crowd, the venue has been moved to the auditorium at Inter-American Elementary School, 851 W. Waveland Ave. Tunney and Commander Boehmer are expected to attend.