While waiting to board his train, an elderly sufferer of Parkinson’s disease was brutally beaten by ruthless savages, leaving him barely able to see. After the community saw what happened to their neighbor, they decided to do something about it.
While heading to catch the Red Line at Chicago’s Belmont Station, 65-year-old Greg Ignatius, who lives with Parkinson’s disease, stepped onto the escalator. In front of him stood a woman, who he says immediately confronted him with the intention of picking a fight. What happened next shocked him.
Within an instant, a man grabbed Ignatius from behind and began relentlessly punching him in the face and head, seemingly working in tandem with the woman. After several blows to his eyes, Ignatius hunkered down and prayed for his life. Although he believes they hoped to rob him, Ignatius told police that the suspects fled when he collapsed to the ground.
“He did that four times in a row in quick succession, these were power jabs,” said Ignatius. “As I crumple down, the escalator is still moving.”
Thankfully, Ignatius didn’t suffer any serious injury. During an interview with CBS News, he explained that his glasses were destroyed and that he struggles to see out of his severely swollen eyes. Although he is determined not to let fear keep him from riding the train, he knew that something has to be done to stop the rising number of attacks in CTA stations.
Fed up with the attacks, local residents gathered at the Town Hall at the 19th District police station to demand something that goes against the media’s narrative — more policing. The diverse community voiced concerns about the rampant crime affecting their daily transportation, calling for a greater police presence at the stations.
Along with Ignatius, residents spoke in opposition to cutting back on law enforcement and their budgets. They demanded more policing in the area to deter criminal offenders. One by one, citizens voiced their fears and hopes that the city would bolster local law enforcement.
“I’ll tell you something – I’m mad as hell,” one man said. And judging by the round of applause, many of the other people in the standing-room-only crowd at the police station are likewise mad as hell.
“A week ago last Friday, I was a victim at the Belmont stop,” Lakeview resident Kathryn Masterson said at the meeting. “My husband and I came back from a place, and a man just attacked me.”
The crowd expressed their anger over officials cutting the number of officers patrolling the entire CTA system to just 70 per shift. They insisted the city must bring in more police to ensure the safety of riders.
“I never see cops – on the platforms, in the cars,” the man said. “Even in New York City, they’re everywhere.”
“I want to be able to ride the CTA and I don’t feel comfortable doing it right now, because it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of police around,” Masterson said.
Police at the meeting attempted to quell fears and outrage by claiming that crime on the CTA is going down, sparking a backlash from the crowd. However, a quick look at the data showed that the number of arrests has jumped 42% since the same time frame last year. In fact, the night of the meeting, police issued a new community alert about thefts on CTA trains on the Near North Side and in Lincoln Park.
Angry citizens voiced growing concerns about muggings, theft, armed robbery, sexual assault, and battery at the stations. Many of the offenders often rove in groups ranging from just a couple to over a dozen, causing riders to avoid taking the trains.
Although Ignatius is brave enough to continue riding the trains, others aren’t as willing to place their lives in danger until the city empowers its police force.
While activists across the nation are trying to defund and dismantle the police, average citizens are finally stepping up not only to defend law enforcement but to demand more policing in high-crime areas. Disbanding the police in these areas only emboldens criminals and hurts the most vulnerable among us.