CHICAGO — It was one of Chicago’s most jaw-dropping viral videos last year. It showed two people robbing a homeless man on the Red Line and one of the offenders striking the victim in the head with a wine bottle.
On Wednesday, a Chicago man pleaded guilty in the case and another robbery on the Red Line the next day.
Solomon Washington, 31, was sentenced to six years for the crime that went viral and a concurrent three-year sentence for the second robbery, according to court records. Judge James Obbish handed down the sentences.
A bystander recorded the video around 2:42 a.m. on September 24, 2022. It spread like wildfire after Teshaun Terry posted it to Facebook later the same day.
According to prosecutors, the 44-year-old victim dozed off on the train and awoke at 95th Street when Washington and another person started speaking to him. The pair went through the man’s pockets and took his money. Then, as the victim sat down, Washington slammed a wine bottle into his forehead, officials said.
As the video continues, Washington and the second person walk off the train, counting the money they took from the man. Prosecutors said the victim received five stitches to close the wound on his head.
Early the next morning, a 46-year-old man fell asleep on the Red Line, missed his stop, and eventually woke up at the 95th Street terminal as Washington removed was stealing his gold medallion, phone, and $120, prosecutors alleged.
Chicago police detectives circulated CTA images of the robbery suspects, and a police officer recognized him.
Judge Obbish ordered Washington to submit a DNA sample for indexing by law enforcement. Washington’s anticipated parole date has not been set, but his six-year sentence will be reduced by 50% for good behavior plus 334 days of credit he earned in county jail.
Initial indications were that a woman was responsible for hitting the first victim with the bottle, but cops in suburban Glenwood recognized the individual as Washington and contacted Chicago police. CPD’s chief of detectives at the time, Brendan Deenihan, said “many” other people also contacted CPD to identify Washington.
The second person who participated in the first robbery was never identified.
“This why I don’t ride the Redline,” Teshaun Terry wrote in the viral post. “Y’all Be Safe At Night On The CTA‼️”
He said he posted the video for “AWARENESS TO BE SAFE ON CTA AT NIGHT ALSO SO YALL CAN HELP FIND THESE DISGUSTING MAN THEY SAID THEY DO THIS ALL THE TIME.”
The LED sign at the end of the car reads 2:11 a.m. as Washington and his accomplice confront the apparent victim, who is seated.
“Can I get $5,” says one.
“Where your wallet at? Lemme see your ID,” orders the other.
The pair reaches into the man’s pocket, and Washington pulls a full wine bottle out of the victim’s jacket.
“Oh my God, Charmaine!” utters a voice from off-camera. “Charmaine!!!”
Meanwhile, the man with Washington dips into the victim’s pants pocket and pulls something out.
“Charmaine! Get back! Charmaine,” continues the voice.
Washington slams the wine bottle directly into the victim’s forehead. The bottle doesn’t break, but the victim begins holding his head as blood drips onto the train floor.
Meanwhile, Washington’s accomplice passes in front of the camera smiling, appearing to examine the items he took from the victim’s pockets while a second woman and a second man take a closer look.
“Get back! He’s bleeding!” the off-camera voice says as a woman moves closer to the victim with a phone.
“I just recording,” the woman replies.
“Oh my, God,” says a voice as they exit the train at the Red Line’s south terminus.