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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Man Claims Attack at Durkin's Bar on Diversey
by Ross Forman
2004-09-01

This article shared 1828 times since Wed Sep 1, 2004
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Chris Sullivan was allegedly pushed through a plate glass window at Durkin's Tavern on West Diversey Parkway at about midnight on Aug. 20, and claims the incident occurred because he is gay.

He suffered severe cuts in eight places on his body—and needed 40 stitches, including six staples to close a head wound, following what he said was an unprovoked attack.

'I have absolutely no idea why this occurred, none at all,' said Sullivan, 38, a paralegal who has lived in the Lakeview area (two blocks away from the bar) for about a year, moving to Chicago from New York City. 'This happened because of my perceived sexual orientation; that's the only thing I could think of.'

Durkin's owner Greg Neal was not present during the incident, but, after speaking with bar patrons who were present that evening, friends and his employees, said the incident was the fall-out from, 'someone acting in an inappropriate manner, then someone responding in an inappropriate manner.'

He said the incident started after 'two guys were making a show of themselves and had to be asked to calm down. One [of the males] was touching and bothering other [bar] patrons.'

Neal said the incident was not a hate-crime and stressed that Durkin's is a friendly establishment to all, regardless of sexual orientation. In fact, Durkin's manager Todd Saban is gay. Saban was not present on the night of the incident.

Sullivan arrived at Durkin's with a male friend after the two and another male had been drinking earlier in the evening at Roscoe's and Buck's. When Sullivan's friend went to purchase drinks for the two, Sullivan said he started talking with a person next to him, 'who I thought was the DJ.'

Sullivan claims the person he spoke with later was talking with another male—and it was the second male who assaulted Sullivan.

'I turned left and was looking around, then turned right and all of a sudden I felt this hand over my face, pushing my head backward through the window,' he said. 'I was completely stunned and bleeding everywhere.'

Sullivan said no one came to help him.

Neal said his employees stopped the patron who attacked Sullivan as he was attempting to flee and restrained him until the police arrived.

Sullivan stumbled outside after being pushed and, due to the excessive blood, repeated multiple times, 'I'm positive,' to inform those who came to his aide that he is HIV positive. Sullivan said ambulance workers put gauze wrapping on his right arm, 'but the people in the ambulance made me feel very uncomfortable,' so he walked away, heading for home. 'I didn't realize how hurt I was; I didn't have a sense of that.'

Neal said his reports were that Sullivan 'ran away' from the ambulatory care.

Sullivan got home and lay on his carpet floor, 'and I felt like I wanted to die,' he said.

Sullivan took a shower, and then laid in bed. When he awake, his head was literally stuck to his pillow from the blood.

Sullivan eventually went to Northwestern Hospital, where he spent about four hours being treated. He was cut on both arms, his back and face, among other places.

No arrests have been made.

'The [police] report I've heard [about the incident] was that I was harassing the guy's girlfriend. How ridiculous; that's one of the biggest jokes I've heard in my whole life,' Sullivan said. 'Like I would walk into a straight bar and before I got my drink I'd start harassing a girl? Never.'

Sullivan said he plans to pursue legal action.

Neal has contacted Ald. Tom Tunney to discuss the incident and further express his support for the GLBT community.


This article shared 1828 times since Wed Sep 1, 2004
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