Man gets 18-months for 2 hate crimes in forest preserve

A suburban man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for two hate crimes against two different victims at a Far North Side forest preserve last year. One of the victims is Black, and the man perceived the other victim to be gay, prosecutors said.

Brian Viscariello, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts of hate crime in exchange for the concurrent 18-month sentences. But state records show Viscariello walked out of prison on the same day he arrived. That’s because he received the state’s standard 50% sentence reduction for anticipated good behavior and credit for 278 days credit for the time spent in jail before pleading. Judge William Hooks oversaw the case.

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

Around 12:45 p.m. on September 4, an animal control warden allegedly saw 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 during a bond court hearing last year.

“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, on September 9, 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 fcking 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 fcking men. Butt fcking 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.

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

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