Man charged with pepper-spraying cop during Boystown street takeover

Felony charges have been filed against a man who allegedly pepper-sprayed a police officer during an unauthorized street party in Boystown early Monday. Two other men are also facing charges after they were arrested during the event.

Officers responded to the Halsted Street bar strip to close traffic, disrupt fights, and attempt to disperse a large crowd that gathered in the roadway between Belmont and Cornelia avenues late Sunday night.

Stevonte Hubbard | CPD

Around 2:35 a.m., police ordered a large group to leave the 3200 block of North Halsted and some officers saw 19-year-old Stevonte Hubbard pepper-spraying people in the crowd, prosecutors said.

When police intervened, Hubbard turned around and pepper-sprayed one of the cops in the face and eyes, according to allegations made in bond court Tuesday.

The officer was treated on-scene by fire department personnel. 

Prosecutors charged Hubbard with felony aggravated battery of a police officer, and Judge John Lyke set his bail at $1,000. Hubbard will be released after he posts a $100 deposit bond.

Two others charged

Melvin Hoskins, age 32, is charged with felony resisting arrest and misdemeanor reckless conduct in connection with the Halsted Street party. Prosecutors said Hoskins charged at police with a clenched fist and refused to leave the area as officers tried to disperse a crowd on the 3400 block of North Halsted around 2 a.m. Monday.

Hoskins allegedly flailed his arms while police tried to arrest him. One officer was struck in the nose and received scratches during the altercation, prosecutors said. Hoskins was released on a recognizance bond.

Police arrested a third man after 911 callers reported seeing a man with a gun near the Belmont Red Line station, 945 West Belmont, around 2 a.m. on Monday. The third man, Yoviel Gebre, had a replica firearm, 40 tablets of Xanax, and suspected amphetamine in a backpack along with a wallet and other items that belong to a different man, prosecutors said in bond court Tuesday.

The state dropped controlled substance charges during the hearing. Gebre remains charged with theft and possessing a replica firearm. Judge Lyke released him on his own recognizance.

Sunday night’s large gathering, which was organized via social media, marked the second weekend in a row that police had to intervene after big crowds overtook Halsted Street.

On June 28, authorities allowed an even bigger crowd to overtake Halsted Street, jump on police cars, and party until shortly before sunrise on the next day. The Chicago Pride Parade, which had been scheduled for earlier on June 28, was canceled this year due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

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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