River North pushed quadriplegic man into street, causing a concussion: prosecutors

CHICAGO — A River North man faces a felony charge for allegedly pushing a quadriplegic man into a downtown street, causing the victim’s wheelchair to tip over, and giving the victim a concussion. And, prosecutors say, the whole situation started with a disagreement over a dog the victim wasn’t involved in.

Officials said it started around 8 p.m. on July 22 when Tristan Block, 27, was seen chasing an unleashed Golden Retriever near Ontario and Wells. A passerby stopped to help Block catch the dog after seeing it run into traffic. But prosecutor John Kyle said once the dog was back in Block’s hands, the passerby grew concerned that he wasn’t the animal’s owner, and the two began arguing.

He said the 26-year-old victim came out of a nearby restaurant with a companion to check on the dog, but they didn’t get involved in the argument. According to news reports, the victim was paralyzed after suffering a spinal injury while playing football several years ago.

Another passerby who was walking her own dog gave Block her dog’s leash so he could use it, but she asked for it back because she was worried Block would use the leash to hurt the dog or a person, Kyle said.

The situation turned violent when Block punched the man who stopped to help him catch the dog, according to a court transcript of Block’s bail hearing. Block then threw the dog leash back at the woman who gave it to him.

Finally, without provocation, he pushed the victim in the chest, causing the man’s wheelchair to roll off a curb, Kyle alleged. He said the victim’s wheelchair tipped backward after falling off the curb, and his head hit the pavement.

Tristan Block | Chicago Police Department; Google

The victim, bleeding from the head and suffering a concussion, left the scene with his companion, who took him to a hospital for treatment, Kyle explained. Block fled with the Golden Retriever, but the other two witnesses waited for police, he said.

Kyle said one of the victim’s hands, which had limited feeling and mobility before the incident, remains numb, and it’s unclear if he will regain feeling and use of the hand.

Hal Garfinkel, a private defense attorney representing Block during the bail hearing, said Block has never been arrested.

This story is made possible by contributions to the Cook County Courtroom Transparency Fund.

He called the allegations “troubling” and said his early information was that alcohol may have “skewed [Block’s] judgment.”

Block worked in Google’s HR department until March and plans to relocate to New York City for a consulting job in a couple of weeks, Garfinkel said.

Judge David Kelly ordered Block to pay a $2,000 bail deposit to get out of jail. He refused to permit Block to travel to New York or to see family in Michigan until another judge looked at the situation.

Prosecutors charged Block with aggravated battery of a handicapped person and two counts of misdemeanor battery.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com