An Uptown man is charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault stemming from an alleged confrontation with local Ald. James Cappleman (46th) over the weekend. Tony Landers, 58, is scheduled to appear in court on October 20.
“I am completely fine and my injuries were very minor,” Cappleman said in a statement Sunday.
The case is an interesting study because Cappleman, who has had at least two other people arrested following confrontations since being elected in 2011, worked more than 20 years as a social worker.
Police initially said someone struck the alderman with a “blunt object” that Cappleman later identified as a small table. But Landers is charged only with assault, meaning he’s accused of threatening Cappleman but not making physical contact.
The alderman told the Chicago Tribune that he went to the 4700 block of North Racine on Saturday evening to address complaints of at least a dozen people drinking and causing a disturbance on the corner. Only one man was on the scene when he arrived, and a small table was on the sidewalk.
Cappleman told the paper he told the man the table didn’t belong there and he took it with him. As the alderman turned a corner, he encountered about eight more men, including Landers, who laid claim to the table, according to the alderman’s account.
“Cappleman said his husband called 911 as he continued to hold onto the table. That’s when one of the men put his arm around Cappleman’s neck. At some point, the table broke in half and Cappleman said his husband believes he was struck with a part of the table,” the paper reported.
“He thought they were hitting me with it, that they hit me repeatedly. I had so much adrenaline going, I honestly can’t tell you,” Cappleman said. “He could’ve had a knife. … That’s not the way I want to die.”
CPD dispatch records indicate that whoever called 911 about the incident said the alderman had been attacked and identified Tony Landers by name.
Interestingly, after having Landers arrested, Cappleman told the paper that “we can’t arrest ourselves out of this” problem.
Cappleman, who frequently mentions his social work career during public meetings and on social media, has pressed charges against at least two other people following encounters on the streets of Uptown.
In 2012, Cappleman claimed that a woman with nearly 400 arrests on her record “reached into her blouse and was chasing me” after he confronted her about drinking on the sidewalk near Montrose and Broadway.
Cappleman said he thought the woman had a knife — a prospect he raised after Saturday’s incident, too — but cops did not find any knife in the woman’s possession when they arrested her for allegedly pushing the alderman into some bushes.
Shermaine Miles served nearly a year in prison for that incident, DNAInfo reported at the time.
A few months before that incident, Cappleman accused a 5-foot-2-inch, 110-pound woman of shoving him into the street when he tried to sweep up breadcrumbs that she had tossed on the ground for pigeons to enjoy. The woman also threw breadcrumbs at him during the attack, Cappleman alleged.
In that case, a CPD tactical unit swarmed the area and arrested the woman after Cappleman signed a misdemeanor battery complaint against her.