Center on Halsted spikes long-time security firm, owned by embattled Lakeview cop

The Center on Halsted announced Wednesday that it is ending its long-term relationship with Walsh Security, the private security company owned by embattled 19th District Police Officer Thomas Walsh.

A search for a potential replacement began in September, more than two years after CWBChicago published a series of exclusive reports about Walsh Security and allegations of a race-fueled off-duty physical altercation between Thomas Walsh and a black doorman at The Lucky Horseshoe, a bar on Boystown’s entertainment strip.

“Quantum Security was selected as the security provider that most closely meets the Center’s comprehensive selection criteria,” the Center said in a statement released on Wednesday according to the Windy City Times

Quantum provides security services for other LGBTQ agencies in Chicago, including the Howard Brown Health Center and Broadway Youth Center, the paper reported.

Investigators at IPRA, the now-disbanded agency once responsible for investigating allegations of police misconduct in Chicago, recommended in 2015 that Thomas Walsh be suspended from the force for 20 days after investigators concluded that he repeatedly yelled the n-word as he threw black doorman James Matthews to the floor on the day after Thanksgiving 2013.

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Then-CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy reviewed IPRA’s report and decided to triple Walsh’s suspension to sixty days, according to investigative records secured by CWBChicago in 2017.

Walsh filed a grievance that lingered for years before finally being heard by an arbitrator in mid-October. As of this week, the arbitrator has not announced his decision in the case.

Matthews filed a civil suit against Walsh, the Lucky Horseshoe, and the city of Chicago. In 2018, he settled all claims in exchange for a $300,000 payment from Walsh’s insurance company, according to court records. He received a separate $2,000 worker’s compensation payment from the bar.

Walsh Security’s contract with the Center on Halsted has earned the company more than $110,000 annually for years, according to tax records.

The Northalsted Business Alliance continues to pay Walsh Security more than $70,000 a year to provide patrols along the Halsted Street bar strip, according to the group’s recent annual reports.

And the company takes in more than $50,000 annually from a group of Lakeview residents who pay for nightly private patrols in the neighborhood bordered by Barry, Ashland, Roscoe, and Racine streets.

See all of our previous Walsh Security coverage here.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com