Man charged with 2 hate crimes in a week at Far North Side forest preserve

Brian Viscariello (inset) and the entrance to the Catherine Chevalier Woods. | Cook County Forest Preserve Police; Google

A suburban man is charged with committing two hate crimes against two different victims this month at a forest preserve on the Far North Side — one of the alleged victims is Black, and he perceived the other one to be gay, according to allegations.

And, prosecutors say the accused man was found not guilty of assault with a handgun in a race-fueled incident at a different forest preserve in 2010.

Around 12:45 p.m. on September 4, an animal control warden allegedly saw 43-year-old Brian Viscariello with two unleashed pit bulls on a parking lot at Catherine Chevalier Woods near O’Hare. 

As the warden approached to talk about leashing his dogs, Viscariello allegedly got into his vehicle with the animals and said, “mind your own f*cking business, n*gger.”

The woman backed away to her marked patrol car, but Viscariello drove his vehicle directly toward her, and she had to step out of the way to avoid being struck by one of the car’s mirrors, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said. 

“You f*cking ape,” Viscariello allegedly yelled to the woman. “I’m going to get some bananas for you. I will be back.” He then drove out of the lot.

Murphy said the warden took photos of Viscariello’s car and license plate. Two witnesses reportedly saw what happened.

Then, just before noon on Wednesday, a man told police that he was walking his dog near a parking lot in the same forest preserve when Viscariello warned him to not come close to his pit bulls, Murphy said. The man was about 30 feet away at the time, according to Murphy.

“Go around, you f*cking f*ggot,” Viscariello reportedly ordered.

The man apologized but pointed out that his dog was on a leash, and they were a reasonable distance away from Viscariello’s dogs.

Viscariello went on to call the man a f*ggot and “butt f*cking f*ggot,” Murphy said.

“I love you,” the victim said to calm things down.

“I bet you do,” Viscariello allegedly replied. “You love f*cking men. Butt f*cking f*ggot.”

“We are all one and the same,” the victim said, again trying to defuse the situation.

Referring to another man who was nearby with a child, Viscariello allegedly said, “We are one. We like women. You like to f*ck men.”

Murphy said the victim felt threatened by Viscariello’s aggressive words and body language, so he captured part of the incident on phone video and took photos. Police responded to the victim’s 911 call and drove around to look for the offender. They found Viscariello in another parking lot and took him into custody.

Both victims identified Viscariello in photo line-ups, Murphy said.

Back in 2010, prosecutors charged Viscariello with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a Black woman said he lifted his shirt to expose a handgun and said, “get the f*ck back. Leave me alone, n*gger” when she approached him at Poplar Creek Equestrian Parking to ask if he bred his pit bulls, according to Murphy.

A witness who allegedly saw the incident failed to show up at trial, and Viscariello was found not guilty, Murphy said. 

On Friday, prosecutors charged Viscariello with two counts of felony hate crime and aggravated assault. Judge Charles Beach set his bail at $100,000. Viscariello will need to post a $10,000 deposit bond to get out of jail before trial. Beach set an additional $50,000 bail because Viscariello violated the terms of bond in a pending misdemeanor case.

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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