Two charged after group beats a college student at Roosevelt Red Line

Prosecutors charged two men who were allegedly part of a group of attackers that attacked a college student on the Red Line as the victim was on his way to class. One of the men is accused of using a 16-inch wooden tire tool to beat the victim.

Keno Blackmon, 22, and Jabari Walker, 21, are each charged with one count of felony aggravated battery of a transit passenger on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the 22-year-old victim was riding a southbound Red Line train to school on October 29 and got out of his seat to exit at Roosevelt. That’s when one of four attackers who remain at-large pulled the victim’s COVID mask and let it snap back on the man’s face, Assistant State’s Attorney John Gnilka said.

Left to right: Keno Blackmon, a 16-inch “tire buddy,” and Jabari Walker | CPD; Amazon: CPD

Two more offenders then began punching the victim in the face and head, causing him to fall toward the doors. The crew continued to beat the man as he made his way onto the platform and tried to get away.

That’s when Blackmon and Walker exited from the train car’s other doors and ran toward the victim, Gnilka said. Walker began punching the victim while Blackmon beat the student with a 16-inch wooden “tire buddy” that had a 2-inch metal tip, according to Gnilka.

The rest of the crew then joined in and continued beating and attacking the man until they fled the area together.

Gnilka said the victim suffered several chipped teeth, cuts to his face and body, and bruises and swelling to his left eye, neck, both forearms, and a shoulder.

CTA surveillance cameras recorded the attack from start to finish.

On Monday, police recognized Blackmon and Walker and arrested them on the 200 block of South State Street. Blackmon was still carrying the 16-inch tire buddy when cops took him into custody, Gnilka said.

Blackmon has a pending misdemeanor case for unlawful possession of a knife at the Jackson Red Line station. He is the father of two and is a health caregiver, Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said.

Judge Maryam Ahmad set his bail at $5,000. She also ordered him held in lieu of $1,500 for violating his bond terms in the knife case. He must post a 10% deposit of $650 to go home on electronic monitoring under Ahmad’s order.

Blackmon has been arrested in Chicago ten times since 2016. In one case, he and four others were accused of randomly tazing people and stealing property along the Lakefront near Montrose Harbor. Prosecutors charged him with theft, aggravated assault, and trespassing. The outcome of those charges was not immediately available.

Walker appeared in a separate courtroom because he had an extradition warrant pending in Minnesota. A prosecutor told Judge Kelly McCarthy that Walker was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for robbery in 2015.

His public defender said he is homeless and has two children with a third on the way.

McCarthy set his bail at $50,000 in the CTA attack case. He’ll need to post $5,000 and go onto electronic monitoring. But he won’t be able to do that anytime soon. McCarthy also ordered him held without bail on the Minnesota warrant.

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