Woman pepper-sprayed bus driver, Uber driver, and pedicab pilot in cross-Loop spree, prosecutors say

A Chicago woman is accused of pepper-spraying a pedicab driver, an Uber driver, and a CTA bus driver in a 30-minute spree through the Loop on Friday evening.

Rashanti Mcshane | CPD

Less than a year ago, the accused woman was portrayed in a media report as a shining example of how electronic monitoring “exacerbates existing bias in the criminal legal system.” Needless to say, she was not pleased to hear on Saturday that she would be going onto electronic monitoring again. More on that in a minute.

Prosecutors said it all started when a pedicab driver told 31-year-old Rashanti McShane to stop dancing and sit down as he pedaled her into downtown around 9:30 p.m. McShane allegedly pepper-sprayed the driver when he demanded payment near the intersection of Michigan and Monroe.

McShane went to a nearby Uber vehicle and told the driver to take her to the Boystown neighborhood. When the driver refused, McShane pepper-sprayed him, too, prosecutors said during a bond hearing on Saturday.

Police searched the area and fielded reports of a woman jumping on cars and running in traffic on Lake Shore Drive before she headed into Maggie Daley Park.

Moments later, McShane boarded a CTA bus that was idling near Maggie Daley Park. The bus driver told her he was on break, so she pepper-sprayed him, too, according to prosecutors. 

Cops located McShane a short distance away and took her into custody. 

McShane claims she pepper-sprayed the pedicab driver because he touched her inappropriately, according to public defender Courtney Smallwood.

Prosecutors charged McShane with felony aggravated battery of a transit employee and misdemeanor battery. According to public defender records, Judge John Lyke set her bail at $40,000 and ordered McShane to go onto electronic monitoring if she can post the mandatory $4,000 deposit bond.

“I’m staying in jail?” McShane said upon hearing Lyke’s decision. “I’m staying in jail? Are you serious?”

Last September, a social justice group profiled McShane to argue that electronic monitoring exacerbates racist and transphobic biases in the criminal justice system. The story focused on the time McShane spent on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial for three felony counts of aggravated battery.

According to the report, McShane felt, “authorities were trying to kill her [by] denying her access to meds, cutting off her food supply, and by plunging her into a deep depression.”

The report said McShane has a “good heart in a cold world.”

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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