Hate crime charge for man who added ‘Black Line’ to list of CTA trains available in the Loop: prosecutors

A Chicago man who allegedly used a Sharpie to add the “Black Line” to a list of CTA train routes available at the Clark-Lake station is facing a felony hate crime charge.

Chicago police officers on patrol at the station’s Blue Line platform saw Ryan Slaski scrawling on a sign around 3 p.m. Thursday, prosecutors said. The sign directs CTA passengers to the Orange, Green, Purple, Pink, and Brown Line trains.

Slaski wrote “Black Line” below the Brown Line and added a “derogatory racial term,” too, said Sarah Dale-Schmidt, a Cook County prosecutor.

Ryan Slaski is accused of adding “Black Line” to a sign similar to this one at the Clark-Lake Blue Line platform. | Chicago Police Department; Yelp

Officers arrested Slaski, 36, at the scene and recovered a Sharpie-brand marker from his hoodie pocket. When police showed Slaski CTA video of the incident, he allegedly admitted that he defaced the sign but forgot what he wrote.

During Slaski’s bail hearing, Dale-Schmidt mentioned that some radical groups declared Saturday a “national day of hate.” Chicago police have said the “day of hate” is promoted by anti-Semitic groups.

Prosecutors charged him with felony counts of hate crime, criminal damage to government property, and possessing a controlled substance. His background includes a felony gun conviction in 2015 and misdemeanor convictions in 2021 for criminal damage to property and aggravated assault, Dale-Schmidt said.

An assistant public defender said he is unemployed and has been living in a shelter. She said he has mental health issues.

Judge Ankur Srivastava, noting that families and children may have been at the location when Slaski committed an act “designed to promote hate,” ordered him to pay a $1,000 bail deposit to get out of jail.

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