A gay man was assaulted during the early-morning hours Jan. 10 on a northbound Red Line train.
Three men were arrested in the incident, and have since been released on bond. The alleged perpetrators were charged with misdemeanor battery. Though they were reported to have made anti-gay slurs during the attack, it is as yet unclear whether the incident is being considered a hate crime.
The victim, Rogers Park resident Daniel Hauff, was hospitalized and released later that day with minor injuries.
Hauff, 33, told Windy City Times that around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, he attempted to intervene in an argument taking place on the train. Three men involved in that argument then allegedly turned on Hauff, shouting homophobic slurs and beating him.
Hauff pressed the emergency intercom button to summon the train operator, who apparently allowed the train to continue operating after observing the situation during a stop at the Wilson station. Between Wilson and Argyle, Hauff said, the three men beat him; by the time he and the men disembarked the train at Argyle, he said, "I was a complete bloody mess."
Hauff repelled further attacks on the Argyle platform by smearing blood on his attackers and telling them that he is HIV-positive. Since he is not, in fact, positive, he said he knew there was no danger to the attackers. "It occurred to me that I could scare the crap out of them" that way, he said.
It apparently worked. "They didn't get any closer to me," said Hauff.
Other individuals on the train had called the policethe Chicago Transit Authority said that the train's operator did, tooand the men were arrested outside of the Argyle stop. Hauff said that his attackers continued to shout anti-gay invective at him while in the train station. A witness from the train, who apparently took cell-phone pictures and stayed to make a statement to the police, remained with Hauff.
Hauff was observed for three to four hours at the hospital and released. Though bruised, he has no broken bones or apparently lasting injuries.
Hauff told Windy City Times that the responding officers indicated to him that they "thought it was a hate crime" and planned to charge it that way.
Regarding possible hate-crimes charges, a Cook County State's Attorney Office spokesman said, "Nothing has been referred to our office to review."
The Chicago Transit Authority's ( CTA's ) media relations department said, "CTA rail and bus operators and customer assistants are trained to assess situations and inform CTA's Control Center in the event of an emergency or if emergency assistance is required." In response to the question if the matter is being investigated, the department stated, "Regarding the incident reported on Sunday by Mr. Hauff, our preliminary investigation indicates the operator responded appropriately. The operator stopped the train at the Wilson station and physically went to the second rail car in response to the passenger intercom being activated. She asked what the problem was, and was informed by Mr. Hauff that he was being bothered by the other individuals. The operator asked if Mr. Hauff needed police or medical assistance and he responded no.
"The operator then asked Mr. Hauff to come with her to the head car and he refused. The operator, following CTA's harassment policy, then asked the other individuals to exit the rail car. They did not respond. In accordance with policy the operator reported the incident to CTA's Control Center. At the next stop, which was Argyle, the operator noticed Mr. Hauff leave the train and observed that he appeared to have blood on his face. The operator called the Control Center. At that time, police had been notified and were on their way to the station. The operator also was informed that Control Center personnel had alerted the security guard on duty at the station to be aware of the situation.
"Police arrived at the station and arrests were made."
The CTA also sent a copy of its harassment policy. Among other items, the policy states, "Harassment, in any form, will not be tolerated at the CTA. Whether the harassment is based on race, gender or religious-affiliation; customers and/or employees being drawn into conversations with sexual or violent overtones; or customers and/or employees being threatened, slapped, spit on, injured or subjected to 'up in your face' conversations by others, we must prevent harassment by using the rules and procedures we have in place."
Assistance: Andrew Davis