HYDE PARK — A Hyde Park man viciously beaten and robbed by a group of teenagers on Halloween said Wednesday the city is now no better than a war-torn nation.
The man, who asked not to be named, said five teenage boys came up to him at 10:30 p.m. Monday in the alley off Kimbark Avenue and 55th Street after he was coming off a 15-hour work day and started punching him.
He said the group punched him in both eyes, his ear and the face, and then began kicking him when he fell to the ground.
“We have straight up become Somalia,” the man said. “I almost lost my life in the street. What happened to these people? What was their education?”
He said the boys ran away with his cell phone and keys when he called for help.
The man said Chicago police and University of Chicago police quickly arrived and he said he was taken to the University of Chicago’s emergency room.
He said he will not be able to go back to work at his job in a lab as a scientist for a week because he can barely see with his eyes still nearly swollen shut and he still has a lot of pain in his back.
The man said he’s lived in Hyde Park for nearly 25 years and had never been assaulted before the neighborhood.
“Before I thought it was OK, but now I’m really worried because my life was damaged,” the man said. “I thought Hyde Park was a decent place.”
He said police who responded to his 911 call told him two of the boys were arrested during a another robbery later Monday night.
Two people were robbed at 10:45 p.m. Monday on the 6000 block of South University Avenue by a group of five teenage boys. Police were not immediately able to say whether they believe the incidents are connected.
The man said he’s worried Chicago is becoming more like Iraq or Somalia if people are willing to punch a stranger in the street.
The robbery was one of several in Hyde Park on Halloween when approximately 500 teenagers came to the neighborhood to hang out, throw eggs and fight in a social-media fueled “Halloween Purge.”
A Kenwood woman was also punched in the head on Monday night when she tried to stop a 14-year-old girl from stealing her bucket of candy.
Police reported only minor crimes around the main gathering of teens, but later reports showed teens were involved in more serious crimes away from the main group and after police broke up the gathering.
Despite the beating, the man said he doesn’t want the neighborhood to discourage kids from coming to Hyde Park.
“I want the kids to have fun, but if this happens multiple times, the police need to gather more often for these events,” the man said.