Was Vandalism Of Pride Parade Floats A Hate Crime?

CHICAGO (CBS) — Was the vandalism of 51 floats for the Gay Pride Parade this past weekend a hate crime?

Police say they are not investigating it as such. But the parade organizer and the owner of the floats both said they believe it was.

The Pride Parade went on as always in the Boystown neighborhood, with appearances by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn, among other dignitaries. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered along Halsted Street, Broadway and Diversey Parkway, high-fiving and embracing strangers and wishing them, “Happy pride!”

But the tire-slashing put a damper on the event before it started. Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, the floats were vandalized in the warehouse for Associated Attractions Enterprises Inc., a parade float business at 4834 S. Halsted St.

Associated Attractions owner Chuck Huser said all 51 floats being stored at the warehouse had two of their tires punctured. He and his staff found all the floats leaning to one side when they arrived at 5 a.m. Sunday to start pulling them out for the parade.

“Every single one,” Huser said. “They didn’t single out one float. They did them all.”

Owner Chuck Huser said all 51 floats being stored at the warehouse had two of their tires punctured overnight. He said organizers of the parade scrambled to replace as many tires as possible in time for the parade, which stepped off at noon Sunday at Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports

There were concerns that the parade might be delayed, but organizers succeeded in getting it started on time.

But three floats couldn’t be repaired in time. Among them were the float for Spin nightclub – located right at the starting point for the parade at 800 W. Belmont Ave. – and the Lambda legal fund, which lobbies for gay rights.

A spokesman for Police News Affairs said that, for now, the vandalism is being investigated as criminal damage to property – given that no message was left behind at the scene.

But was it a hate crime? Among those involved with the parade, the consensus seems to be yes.

Huser said he has been in business for 36 years, and this kind of vandalism has never happened before.

“I firmly believe it was probably a hate crime,” he told CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole. “I firmly believe somebody did not want this parade to happen.”

Parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer also believes it was a hate crime. Why else, he says, would somebody pick the night before the Gay Pride Parade to disable the floats?

“And it just speaks to, people say, ‘Gee, the LGBT community has come so far,’ and we have,” Pfeiffer said. “But if you have people who are doing something like this, maybe we haven’t reached the hearts of everybody yet.”

At the parade, some of those who had heard about the incident expressed disappointment, but weren’t letting it ruin their day.

“It’s hateful, but you have to pray for those people, because you can’t spread more hate, and love triumphs,” said Kathy Spratting of Unity Church.

Damage to the floats was estimated at $20,000.

RELATED: Top 5 Boystown Gay Bars

RELATED: The Gay Rights Movement In Illinois: A History

At the parade, gay rights supporters of all ages gathered, many waving – or even draping themselves in – rainbow flags. U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky (D-Chicago) walked the route, along with several aldermen, state lawmakers and state elected officials. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy also made an appearance.

On the lighter side, the Windy City Cowboys entertained the crowd with a synchronized line dance, the Chicago Sky WNBA team trotted out their Sky Guy mascot in jumping stilts, and Cook County Sheriff’s office staffer Richard Streetman donned military camouflage to strut his stuff on the float for Sheriff Tom Dart – one of the few that was not owned by Associated Attractions.

But there were reports of problems with crowd control at the parade. Photos from the Windy City Times showed a car that was seriously damaged when people got up and danced on top of it at 900 W. Belmont Ave., and spectators who had to scale a fence on Halsted Street when the crowd grew too deep.

The parade was ultimately cut short toward the end, and several floats and marchers were diverted onto Clark Street, according to several reports. The exact reason was not clear.

Following the parade, many spectators headed north to the Rogers Park neighborhood for the new Pride North Fest, which was held along Glenwood Avenue between Morse and Lunt avenues until 10 p.m. Sunday.

  • Jordan

    Ok who had access to the warehouse? shouldn’t be too hard to narrow down the suspects a bit. My guess is someone wants to make this look like a hate crime to get some attention.

    • podry

      Ooh, that brings up an interesting question… how would the gay community feel about gay protesters burning rainbow flags??? Serious responses only, please… oh, who am I kidding… ok fine, anyone with a pulse (or a sense of humor) may respond.

    • saz

      I was wondering if someone stuffed something up the tailpipe.

      • heh

        lol. Well said

    • joe d

      For all those freedom loving, Christians out there, this sounds a bit hypocritical… but whats new. I don’t know what country you live in, but we have bigger problems to deal with than two people who love each other trying to get married.
      We have men and women dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, trillions being spent to help foreign countries, people not being able to find a job, and other problems too numerous to mention, yet you want to interject on the relationship of two strangers…

      • jasperddbgghost

        Yet you think it’s important they get married.

        Get the tossed salad out of your mouth you AIDS infected louse.

    • Mannie

      How Christian of you.

    • Jeff is Right On


      We all have our issues and I don’t go out trying to conform society to my broken behaviors just because I dont want to deal with it.

    • jedds

      So true, its a omen of a society in a serious state of decay. Im not sure why politicians embrace such deviant behavior when an overwhelming majority disapprove of it(for now)…just put it to a public vote and watch it fail.
      Nevertheless having your hard work destroyed by vandals sucks and I hope theyre made to pay for it.

    • Cece

      No great loss.

  • citizen for a Liable Chicago

    It was a criminal damage to property crime, and criminal trespass to property, maybe even Burglary.Don’t be sucked into a hate crime charge because the gay community want it. Hate crime must be used for more serious situations or attacks.

    • RJ

      If it were some people who broke in and flattened tires on a bunch of the bud billiken parade floats, it’d be pretty easy to classify it as a hate crime. Why not in this case? It’s clear who the intended victims were – gays. To target a group based on their sexual orientation is a hate crime.

      And I can’t wait to see how successful the police are in solving this one. :-/

      • David

        This is exactly why hate crimes laws should have NEVER been enacted. it was obvious from the beginning that there would be people like you who dilute it down to even include acts of vandalism.

    • TroyG

      There isn’t such a thing as a hate crime.
      There is crime…period!

      • Big George in Big D


      • Calling it as i see it

        You’re idiots

      • Hank

        And then there is constructive crime.

      • Common sense

        Exactly. “Hate crime” is like any hyphenated American label…it only exists to divide and give some group special privileges. No surprise it was coined by the left.

  • NeverSurrender

    When I was in high school, a kid I knew crept into the place where the school kept the buses one night and sliced the tires on all the buses.

    I guess he commited a hate crime against all of us school kids, huh?

    Oh the humanity, I forgot about this but one Halloween I threw eggs at passing cars in a neighborhood. Should I have been arrested for a hate crime against home owners??????

    • Max

      It is not hate crime against the school you stupid little man. There is no such thing as a hate crime. The emotional state of a criminal is immaterial, a crime is a crime.
      If special interest groups really want equality they must accept the fact that a hate crime is a fallacy and that crimes committed against their group are no more important than a crime committed against anyone else. Equality must be for all or for none.

    • Big George in Big D

      Shawn – me thinks you’re the idiot.

    • S Bob Osbourne

      Ed, you sound ready to commit a hate crime against straight people.
      Why do you hate so much?

    • Ed

      Hahhahahahahahaha. You are a selfish ninny. Grow up and realise that crimes against a group are as despicable as crimes against and individual. Doesn’t matter the motivation, and no, whatever group you belong to is not special, and you should get EQUAL justice under the law.

      • refuting Ed logic

        You can only commit a crime against individuals. If a person commits a “hate crime” against a black person in Chicago, is a black person in LA a victim of the crime? Ed would say yes, but that is just stupid logic. You have to have some sort of direct injury to be a victim of a crime. You aren’t a victim based on a shared characteristic with the real victim. Liberal logic is so silly. And gay people who are targeted because they are gay do get “EQUAL justice” under the law. The criminal laws don’t exclude gay people as victims. And Ed, if you are so worried about “EQUAL justice”, you wouldn’t support hate crimes laws because they will never be enforced with equal vigor when whites, christians, heterosexuals, etc. (insert any non-favored group), are the victims.

    • Tom Higgens

      There is ZERO proof it’s a hate crime. Zero. Pure speculation until the person(s) is found AND admits such.

      Name calling v. logic — nice Ed, nice. :rolls eyes:

    • fgj

      the equal “justice” you call for is in EVERYONE being treated eqaul under the law – thus the black and white of the court – proof and then senetence based on what you did NOT why you did it. You want to pay more for your next speeding ticket because you say you hate cops?

    • dan

      you really are an idiot with little understanding.

    • SandyLester

      Hate crimes are nothing more than “thought” control. What someone is thinking when committing a crime does not in any way make the crime different. Beyond that, this attitude of “I am a victim” is growing weary on the American public. People need to stop being offended and grow the h@ll up.

    • edbelyin

      no such thing as a hate crime you asshat…

    • Tony

      If I am throwing eggs at cars and it hits a car driven by a black man and he reports it and the others don’t, am I then guilty of a hate crime? I had no intentions of my egg throwing being other than a bad prank however some Marxist will accuse this behavior of being a hate crime.

    • sort of

      There is no logical argument to support the notion of a “hate crime”

      A crime is a crime regardless of the motivation

    • oldvet

      Hate is an emotion, not a crime. I hate vegetables so I need to be punished? The laws are on the books to punish criminals for vandalism, breaking and entering and trespassing. Stop the bs about hate crimes.

      • I support Veterans

        So if a veteran is murdered by an antiwar activist, and a note is left stating “This man was murdered because he is a veteran and killed innocent Arabs”, it should be treated the same as any other murder?

      • What say you?

        So if a veteran is murdered by an antiwar activist, and a note is left stating “This man was murdered because he is a veteran and killed innocent Arabs”, it should be treated the same as any other murder?

      • podry


      • podry

        You mean punishable for up to life in prison or the death penalty, YES. How do you propose it should be treated?

    • Dave

      It’s a sad state of affairs when crimminals can’t be punished for what they do, but rather for what they may or may not have thought. What’s next?

    • Brian Astby

      If one gay mutant hits another gay mutant in anger, is it a hate crime?

  • Ed Deline

    You’re pathetic, “Frank”, for responding to your own post. idiot.

    • gdfh

      and you sir are are beneath contempt, pillowbiter

  • S Bob Osbourne

    It’s a hate crime when it affects gays. So this is an example of a hate crime.

    Otherwise, you’re just dealing with vandalism here.

    When is ‘Straight Pride Month’ btw?

    • Ron S

      When is Male Pride month? When is Southern Pride Month? When is White Pride Month?

    • Straight

      It is normal.

    • JL

      Probably be shut down as Anti-gay. Gawd know’s their rights are the more important.

      Damn, is this post a hate crime?!?!

    • Ben

      You mean hiding your degeneracy? And btw, the freaks aren’t ‘married’ anymore than my two cats are married….its the sick freaks attempt to normalize that which isn’t normal…..

    • Canyon

      It has absolutely nothng to do with embarrassment and everything to do with FEAR !! Fear of bodily harm , social isolation, being stigmatized and losing your liveilihood.

      Last I read the population was 10%,now it’s 2???? I would really like to know exactly how the population of gays is accurately determined since “FEAR” keeps most of us in the closet.

    • Ian

      What is their to proud of in being gay? People should be proud of achievements, not the fact that they like sex with other people of their own gender. Aren’t they all just born that way. Maybe we should have a pride day for people with big ears.

    • Angela Kiser

      STRAIGHT pride is every month but JUNE. We have one month to celebrate our partnerships cuz people dont realize that people are people no matter the SEX they are with. Trust me if we could have the 11 months I would GLADLY give you JUNE!!!

  • Devildog

    Amen to that! I’ll give it to them!

  • Greg

    Sounds like kids having a good laugh. only 2 tires on each float. why not all 4. Better yet why not just light one on fire and destroy them all. Maybe they just hate the traffic that is caused by closing the streets for the parade. Maybe they had a mom or dad in the parade and they wanted to go to the beach instead. finally, how did they know that the floats were for gay people. Maybe it was just luck that they found the floats.

  • Eric

    No, it was not a hate crime this was free speech. Everyone has a right to speak in this country. This is just a form of free speech. Not everything that happens to gays is a hate crime.

    • dullatron

      And yet why am I sure that you would like to make flag burning a crime?

      • podry

        Ooh, that brings up an interesting question… how would the gay community feel about gay protesters burning rainbow flags??? Serious reponses only, please… oh, who am I kidding… ok fine, anyone with a pulse (or a sense of humor) may respond.

      • hfjfgjf

        how so did he say that? Or are you one of those lefty hyperbole “I’ll tell you what you’re thinking” wankers?

    • Angela Kiser

      Then speak dont ruin other peoples hard work just cuz youu want to SPEAK as u put it.

  • Michael

    Axe-Victim: The axe didn’t by any chance lobotomize you?

  • Frank

    @ED, That is not a very nice thing to say. You are abusive and your comment is uncalled for. I do not know Mr. Jimbo, but I agree with his comment.

    • Jerry Sandsfield

      Name calling is all Ed has… Typical liberal behavior.

  • Michael

    Should be “two straight parents”. Apologies to Einstein.

    • Seriously

      You’re an idiot.

  • Dan

    It’s so childish to call someone slashing tires conducted a “hate crime”. Only selfish people think that if someone is againts them its “hate”, but all other similar acts are “normal” crimes.

    • NewOrleansAnn

      Actually Dan, I think the point is that we have “hate crimes” and we have “love crimes” Just be sure you refer to this in the politically correct way, so as to not be accused of a “hate statement”.

    • Floyd DaBarber

      Rahm Emmanuel’s Chicago is truning into Mogadishu, Somalia. The mud people have diplomatic immunity under the current regime.

  • ChicagoCitizen

    CBS has again deleted opinions here on this message board. They have gone too far with the extreme cesorship. This is a news outlet and should not be censored.

    • Phil

      LOL CBS a news outlet? More like a liberal propaganda outlet.

  • eyearedan

    most likely it was done by themselves to gain attention. The LGBT has shown over and over again it will distort truth just so they can have a soap box to stand on. The LGBT are bullies to anyone who disagrees with them. Who would have known these floats were in the warehouse but themselves.

    • Chicago860

      And where is the story about the destruction caused by the parade participants and observers. Check out Halsted St. It’s a war zone.

      • Ernaldo T

        We talking about afros here???

  • lukuj

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this is taken more seriously and given more attention and manpower than the destructive flashmobs since it is against one of the chosen groups. How can they even think this is a hate crime and not say the same about the flashmobs wreaking havoc on businesses?

    • Mr. Justice

      @ lukuj…..GREAT COMMENTS! It is not a hate crime. The police, nor the mayor, will do anything about the flash mobs. I believe it is time for the law abiding citizens to handle the flash mobs themselves.

      • lukuj

        Here in Texas these mobs would probably find a number of residents or other customers who had concealed weapons, which might cause them to rethink(if they are capable of thinking) their actions.

  • John

    wow. two gay parents produce a gay child after adoption. that’s a great way to procreate and keep a thriving nation populated.

    • Jeannie Jones

      He corrected what he said.. go back and re-read. And recent studies have shown that gay adoptive parents do not create gay children. Do you really think that we’re in danger of underpopulation? Puh-lease! Back in the 60’s when fighting for civil rights for blacks, who’d have thought that there were still civil rights battles to be fought in 2011?!

  • Silly People

    A hearty “Get Bent” !

  • nelson

    O dear me, what to do what to do, I am in such a tizzy, dear me!

  • tylerjake

    I believe this is Bush’s fault!! LMAO!!

    • Various Authors

      We all know gay people hate bush.

      • Big George in Big D

        gay people (and how that word is ruined because of this “group”) hate everyone that stands in their way.

  • Chucky

    Odd how the first thing said is “Hate Crime” but when a lot of white people are being attacked by black mobs in Illinois and Pennsylvania not a word is said.
    Crying shame.

    • Mr. Justice


    • Flashman


      Also, if these people want to be treated equal they should demand equal treatment under the law and should be the first to object to any “hate crimes” laws.

      If they are equal they are equal.

      “Hate crime’ laws, by definition and application, promote inequality under the law.

  • JS

    Seems that’s kind of counter-productive especially when this fad of it being cool to experiment goes away.

  • JS

    While I agree to some extent with your comments Elton, the problem still exists with straight people contracting the disease through blood transfusions and so on.

    • Elton John

      False. While there are people who are still alive today who contracted AIDS through blood transfusion, there is essentially no risk of contacting the disease in that manner today. There are precautions in place today that were not in place in the 80’s and early 90’s. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to you. The honest truth is that heterosexuals have virtually ZERO risk of contacting AIDS, unless they use illegal drugs that are taken through needles. That is a very high risk group that the average citizen need not worry about unless they do hard drugs or they knowingly sleep with a partner who does hard drugs. These are facts. You won’t hear them preached to you on your evening news broadcast or in your daily paper because then nobody would give any money towards AIDS research. Gay advocate groups would become hysterical.

    • James

      AS they said at Rock Hudsons funeral ” Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust if you had stuck with puzzy you would still be with us”

    • sort of

      Wrong Elton John.

      There is still a risk of AIDS with whole blood products in the USA

      And in underdeveloped countries, 20 percent of the blood supply is still not tested.
      AIDS thru blood products still is the number one , almost exclusively, the way straight people contract the gay disease

  • Michael

    You do realize that there are several known factors for leukemia, right? Exposure to certain specific/known toxins increase the risk dramatically.

    So now that you do know that, do you have no sympathy for leukemia patients either?

    • hfhgf

      do any of them involve devient behavior?

  • jann

    The radicals that have taken over the Democrats do not like a lot of people, don’t believe me, they are lining up with radical Islam, wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up and open your eyes.

    • ryrtyu

      exit yourself you sexist biggot

    • Mr. Justice

      @ Anonymous…… Very stupid comments! Go back and hide behind your computer you little weenie.

    • Ernaldo T

      I likes dem islamos already

  • Tony

    Maybe it was one of those violent Flash Mobs.

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