The legitimacy of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzkers Peacekeepers initiative intended to be a “community-focused” approach to addressing violent conflict, has been called into question following brutal attack of a Little Village resident by one of it's members
A disturbing incident occurred in Chicago when a man, wearing a neon yellow "peacekeepers" vest, brutally beat and robbed another individual. The incident has raised concerns about the effectiveness and vetting process of the newly deployed violence-prevention team in the city.
According to reports, on the evening of Friday, May 26th, a man in a neon "peacekeepers" vest confronted and attacked a motorist in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. The suspect, who has been identified as Oscar Montes, 31, was one of 7 or 8 people caught on video pulling a man from his car, then brutally beating and robbing him.
Prosecutors stated that Montes purportedly took the man's cellphone and assaulted him by striking him on the head with it. Additionally, another criminal stole the victim's wallet. These incidents occurred amidst a violent spree in Chicago over the holiday weekend, which witnessed at least 37 shootings resulting in 9 fatalities. The victim endured severe injuries, including fractures to his face and ribs. His eye sustained significant damage, leading to partial blindness
Based on the police report, as the officers arrived at the scene, they observed Montes walking away while attempting to remove a neon vest labeled "peacekeepers." Surprisingly, during the court proceedings, there was no mention of the peacekeepers vest or any affiliation with an anti-violence organization.
Montes was previously incarcerated in an Illinois prison but was released in May of last year after being convicted of aggravated discharge of a firearm. The incident dates back to 2012 when he faced charges of attempted murder in connection with a gang-related shooting. Montes opted for a plea deal and received a 12-year prison sentence, ultimately pleading guilty to the discharge of a firearm.
It remains unknown whether Montes was actually associated with any violence prevention organization or if he was falsely acting as one. Although a spokesperson for Enlace, the violence prevention group that deploys "peacekeepers" in the Little Village area, said that a statement would be issued, none has been released at this time.
Judge Maryam Ahmad has ordered Montes to be held without bail, facing charges of aggravated battery, robbery, and vehicular invasion.
More than 500 individuals have been employed in Chicago as "peacekeepers," seemingly without adequate background checks being run. These individuals have purportedly received training to defuse violent situations as part of an $11 million anti-violence program funded by the state. The "peacekeepers" are affiliated with various community violence prevention organizations, totaling over a dozen groups involved in this initiative. Governor Pritzker has been severely criticized in light of this development.
Since the start of Memorial Day Weekend at least 44 people have been shot, 9 fatally, Chicago police said.