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UPDATED 07/05/11 5:51 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Police are analyzing a video clip of brawl on the Boystown strip of North Halsted, which ended in the stabbing of a 25-year-old man.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker talked to witnesses, including the man who shot the tape of the incident just before midnight Saturday night.
John Cunningham and his partner watched from their apartment balcony in the 3300 block of North Halsted Street – between Buckingham Place and Aldine Avenue – as a man in orange shorts became a target.
“There must have some been bumping of shoulders, a drink must have been spilled on someone, words exchanged,” he said. “Before you know it, the 20 individuals were attacking the gentleman and had him on the ground, where he was basically defenseless as they continued to pummel and kick on him.”
Cunningham’s partner, Rob Sall, said there were brawl participants who were “cheering and jumping up and down and screaming.”
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The tape shows the victim, suffering stab wounds, running from the group across Halsted Street. He is pushed against a parked car before staggering and falling against the Sherwin-Williams paint store at 3311 N. Halsted St.
A video taken subsequently shows blood on the sidewalk and on the wall of the paint store.
Neighbor Kevin O’Brien calls the attack a “scary reality” and says there should be more Chicago beat cops assigned to the neighborhood.
Cunningham and Sall say they often carry video cameras in the neighborhood, trying to be the eyes and ears of police.
The victim’s stab wounds do not appear to be life threatening. At last report he was in good condition at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
Concerns About Crime Mounting, Highlighting Divisions
The attack spurred dozens of posts on the new Facebook page “Take Back Boystown,” where participants discuss crimes and possible solutions in the area.
On the wall for the Facebook group, one member went so far as to call for shutting down the Center on Halsted, the GLBT community center that opened with much fanfare in 2007, and which draws young people from all over the city.
And just the night before the stabbing, a “positive loitering” event was held along Halsted Street to protest crime and safety issues in Boystown.
The “positive loitering” event followed a well-publicized stabbing last month in front of the 7-11 store at 3407 N. Halsted St., which left a man hospitalized.
But some visitors to the area say the people complaining about crime are really highlighting differences in the area rather than bringing people together, and are profiling African-American youth from the city’s South and West sides who visit the neighborhood.
Another group, Gender JUST, organized a counterprotest at the anti-crime event to defend the youth, Gay Chicago Magazine reported over the weekend.
The magazine points out that tensions between youth and neighborhood residents are not new. For many years, gay and lesbian youth from various parts of the city come to Boystown in the evening hours, but end up hanging out on the sidewalk because they are not old enough to get into the bars.