Chicago police have arrested and charged a mother and her son for beating up teens for scribbling on the pavement that included 'Biden 2020' and 'Black Lives Matter' during a post-Election Day scuffle at a South Side Park. A video of the incident was posted on social media which went viral following which the woman and her son were arrested.
The arrest comes almost two weeks after the attack at Chicago Women's Park & Garden in the South Loop. The teens who suffered serious injuries are now questioning why it took so long for the police to arrest and charge the woman and the man as the complaints was made long back.
Lorena Petani, 64, and Lucio Zapata, 21, are facing misdemeanor battery charges in connection with the November 4 incident, according to police. The attack happened all of a sudden before the teens, who were in a playful mood, could react. Alexis Hadac, a 19-year-old college student, one of the teens who was attacked while he filmed the entire episode, said that she and her friends went to the park in the afternoon.
Hadac and her friend, who work as nannies, were accompanied by two children, both under the age of 4, in their care and having a play date, when the incident happened. The two women were blowing bubbles with the children and playing with pieces of chalk that someone else had left behind in the park when suddenly an unidentified woman later identified charged at them and accused them of vandalism.
Hadac and her friend Haylee Sandoval, also 19, claim that the scribbling on the park pavement were left by someone else much before they arrived and the children had added smiley faces, while one of them wrote "Biden 2020".
However, Petani was in no mood to listen to them and grew more aggressive once Hadac started filming the incident. She even threatened that her husband was a police officer.
In the video, Petani can be seen standing a few feet away from the two women and speaking in a calm voice. A young man, who police identified as Zapata, is standing close to her is looking down but does not speak on the video. "This is tagging, though?" Hadac is heard asking the woman incredulously on the video. "OK, but this is chalk, I don't see why you're ..."
Petani then gets more aggressive and says, "It's insulting to people," said the woman. "This is my park. I doubt you pay as much (taxes) as me." About 50 seconds later, the exchange grows heated as Petani walks up to Hadac and forcefully thrusts her coat at the phone camera in an attempt to block filming. Hadac said the woman hit her in the face.
A Long Argument
However, things don't stop there. According to local media reports Sandoval also pushed Petani but she had her reasons. Sandoval told the Tribune that she intervened because one of the children was standing behind Hadac, who lost her balance after being struck by Petani.
Hadac can next be heard asking Sandoval to call police. As Petani and Zapata quickly walk away, Hadac follows them as she continues still recording and urging Sandoval to call police. Although what happened next isn't clear from the video, Hadac and police claim that Petani grabbed her by her hair and hit her in the face. She was soon joined by Zapata. "Call the cops!" Hadac is heard shouting in the video to Sandoval. "Call the police. Call the police. Call the police."
However, despite the complaint, it took police nearly two weeks to arrest the two suspects. Hadac and her friend have now questioned the reason behind the delay in arresting them although they had identified Petani at the time of filing the complaint.
Detectives said Petani and Zapata were served a court notice for the misdemeanor instead of being arrested, which is part of the Police Department's response to the coronavirus pandemic under CPD's Special Order, Hadac said.