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Officer, Others Injured In Brawl Long After Pride Parade

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Belmont Avenue Fight

An officer was cut in the hand, one man was reportedly stabbed, and someone went through this window during fights overnight in the Clark and Belmont district after the Gay Pride Parade. (Credit: CBS)

Susanna Song Susanna Song
Susanna Song serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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UPDATED 06/25/12 12:02 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Police officer was cut and injured, and at least one other person was reportedly stabbed, when revelry apparently got out of hand in the Clark and Belmont district in Lakeview – long after the vast majority of the crowd out for the Gay Pride Parade had gone home.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, police were trying to disperse a large crowd of revelers along Belmont Avenue between Clark Street and Sheffield Avenue throughout much of the night.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports


Police say nine people were arrested between 10 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. Monday, reports WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya.

The revelers reportedly had been hanging around several hours after the Gay Pride Parade just to the east ended around 4 p.m. Sunday.

Around 2:30 a.m., police were trying to arrest a 21-year-old man suspected of stabbing someone in a fight at Belmont and Sheffield avenues.

Police came after witness Vanessa Ferrin called 911 upon seeing the 31-year-old victim bleeding on the ground.

“I saw a couple people on the ground – perhaps six, four to six – pounding their fists on them,” Ferrin said. “When I walked over to the ground, there was just one person on the ground bleeding from the head.”

As officers tried to arrest the man, he escaped and crashed through a pane of glass at the Forever Yogurt shop at 931 W. Belmont Ave. The front window of the shop was boarded up, but a spray-painted reminder on the boards indicated that it remained open.

The officer suffered a “substantial” laceration on his right hand from a shard of glass that fell after the offender crashed through the window, police said.

The officer was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center after the incident around 2:30 a.m. Monday, police told the Sun-Times Media Wire.

Meanwhile, the man the officer was trying to arrest ran off, but he was later captured and was in custody as of 8:45 a.m., police said. No charges had been filed as of that time.

The 31-year-old stabbing victim was reported in stable condition at an area hospital as of 11 a.m.

Another man, Ebony Mattel, was hit in the head with a bottle and was bleeding from the head as he spoke to CBS 2. He said someone randomly came up to him and attacked him for no reason.

“The person just came out of nowhere – like, I don’t even know who he was, like, I never saw him before in my life,” Mattel said. “He smacked me with a bottle. We were on Belmont and Sheffield. He smacked me with a bottle – like, he just walked up out of nowhere. I was on the floor, like, letting out, like, gasping for air.”

Paradegoers say there were several fights that broke out overnight, many of them in the Clark and Belmont area.

Police do not believe any of these incidents were hate crimes. They say it was just several rowdy and intoxicated people who got out of hand.

Police say the fights began breaking out in the area on Sunday afternoon.

Even as late at 4:30 a.m. Monday, there were still dozens of people hanging around on Belmont Avenue. But by 5:30 a.m., the crowds had almost completely dispersed, and only messes of garbage left to be picked up remained.

Meanwhile, cleanup from the parade continued early Monday along the Boystown strip of Halsted Street, and side streets.

At the corner of Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street, a window at Spin nightclub, 800 W. Belmont Ave., was boarded up after being broken on Sunday.

Spin owner David Gassman says the crush of people resulted in someone being pushed up against the glass. Otherwise, he says, business was great on Sunday.

“Well-behaved crowd; I mean, the most mild-mannered crowd of 700,000 people you’ve ever seen,” Gassman said.

As late as midnight, the Halsted Street strip was still congested with pedestrians and traffic. Later, groups began playing loud music from their cars and started dancing in the middle of traffic at Clark and Belmont, the Chicago Phoenix reported.

Some neighbors complained about trash left behind on their sidewalks and side streets. Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) was not immediately available when contacted by CBS 2 for comment.

This year’s Gay Pride Parade drew 850,000 people. The Clark and Belmont district is a couple of blocks west of where the parade route passes through the neighborhood.

Problems have erupted in the overnight hours after the Pride Parade in past years, particularly in the Clark and Belmont area.

On the night of the parade last year, a car and a police all-terrain vehicle collided in the area, on Belmont Avenue just west of Halsted Street.

Police initially said a car hit the ATV, but witnesses claimed the officer hit the car and was in the wrong lane, the according to the Chicago Phoenix. The publication did not receive response from police for a follow-up story last week about the incident.

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