CHICAGO — A Chicago man wearing a neon yellow “peacekeepers” vest helped a group of people beat and rob a motorist in Little Village on Friday night, according to a Chicago Police Department report. The allegations come after city and state officials lauded the use of “peacekeepers” as a tool they would deploy over the Memorial Day weekend to tamp down violence across the city.
Oscar Montes, 31, was held without bail by Judge Maryam Ahmad on charges of robbery, aggravated battery, and unlawful vehicular invasion Sunday afternoon.
The trouble began around 10:55 p.m. as Chicago police officers saw a large group fighting near 23rd Place and Washtenaw. Additional CPD units were sent to stabilize the situation.
But less than five minutes after officers cleared up from that incident, CPD surveillance officers reported that a group of people had pulled a man from a car and started beating him, a police report said.
A 37-year-old man was pulled from his vehicle by “multiple offenders,” including one wearing a neon vest, a Chicago police spokesperson said Saturday. During Montes’ bail hearing, prosecutor Charles Golaszewski said six or seven men joined Montes in pulling the victim from the driver’s seat.
The group punched and kicked him on the ground. Montes took the victim’s phone and beat the man with it, Golaszewski alleged. Another man took the victim’s wallet before everyone scattered as Chicago cops returned to the scene.
A police surveillance camera recorded the entire attack, Golaszewski said, and officers who reviewed the footage identified a man wearing a yellow vest as one of the attackers.
Police officers searched the area and quickly located Montes walking away from them while removing “a neon ‘peacekeepers’ vest,” according to the CPD arrest report. No other arrests were made.
The victim was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in serious condition with significant injuries to one eye, cuts, bruises, and abrasions. Golaszewski said he suffered a facial fracture, rib fracture, and a left eye injury that has caused partial vision loss. It is unclear if the victim’s vision will fully return.
A CPD officer signed complaints on behalf of the victim, who was “not capable” of signing the papers himself “due to his injuries,” the police report said.
Officers said the victim’s car was inoperable, either because it ran out of gas or due to mechanical failure.
Montes, who “complained of back and neck injuries, as well as PTSD,” was treated at St. Anthony’s Hospital, according to the CPD report.
His defense attorney on Sunday said he has a 14-year-old child and is a certified emergency medical technician. He volunteers “when he can” and goes to church, the lawyer said. But neither the public defender nor Golaszewski mentioned any peacekeeping activities that Montes might have been involved with.
Montes is on parole for a 2012 case in which he pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle. Golaszewski said those allegations stemmed from an incident involving a rival gang member of Montes in Little Village. Court records show Montes was originally charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.
He was released on May 6, 2022, after serving a little more than ten years of a 12-year sentence, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records. State officials are reviewing his parole status in light of the new allegations.