UPDATED 07/09/12 – 4:24 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Four men have been charged with attacking four other people – including an off-duty Chicago police officer – for no apparent reason early Sunday, but the suspects’ relatives said the men had been taunted with racial slurs and one of the suspects was grabbed from behind during the confrontation.
Police and prosecutors said the four suspects were in a white stretch limousine around 2 a.m. Sunday on Clark Street and Cornelia Avenue, when they jumped out of the limo and began punching and kicking four other people.
Corry Simmons, 32; Donald Robinson Jr. 31; Edward Robinson, 31, all of the North Lawndale neighborhood; and Alvin Goffin, 32, of the South Side, all face felony charges of mob action.
Corry Simmons was also charged with aggravated battery and resisting a police officer. Edward and Donald Robinson – who are cousins – were also charged with aggravated battery.
Bail was set at $250,000 for Goffin on Monday and $400,000 each for the other three defendants.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports the men allegedly videotaped the attack. Police said witnesses claimed while the four defendants jumped out of the limo and attacked bystanders on Clark Street, people inside the limo videotaped the assault.
Witnesses helped police catch the four defendants, but those inside the limo got away. One of the men allegedly scuffled with a police officer when he was arrested, causing a minor injury to the officer’s knee.
Prosecutors contended the four began beating people on the street for no apparent reason, breaking one victim’s jaw. But, according to the Sun-Times Media Wire, relatives of the defendants said they were shooting a music video when they were taunted with racial slurs and someone grabbed one of the men from behind before the beatings.
News of the attack was unsettling for many living in the area.
“It’s scary that you have to start thinking about where you’re going, and who you’re with, and who’s around you a lot more,” Wrigleyville resident Jill Kohnen said.
“For me, it’s like, ‘Alright, well if this happened on Clark, well I better definitely watch myself,” said Megan Cage.
Even more disturbing was that people who were inside the limo allegedly videotaped the beating.
“Why are you videotaping it? … You find some type of gratification out of it?” Cage said.
Wrigleyville residents said they understand why the location might be appropriate for a video about drinking, but shocked that things would turn violent.
Kohnen said early Sunday mornings, there are big crowds of people spilling out of the local bars and clubs, but she said “It’s always seemed safe to me. Just drunks, not dangerous.”
She said the attack has made her think twice about walking around the neighborhood at night.
“Oh ,for sure, yes, definitely. The police told us take the cab right to your door. It’s sad. It’s sad that you have to do that. You live here so you can walk and not take cabs everywhere,” she said.
Cage said, “It’s Wrigleyville, so you assume that ‘Oh, I’m safe,’ but obviously you know, you’re not as safe as you think you are living over here.”
Investigators were looking at surveillance video from area businesses to see if they can identify the people who got away in the limo. Police said there is no indication that the victims knew the men who attacked them.