The Chainlink

Jana Kinsman could have been killed in Logan Square area last night by driver and pals thinking they're funny

Basically, some dudes in a purple tahoe grabbed her while she was on her bike and pulled her along next to the car while she was screaming for her life.

Here's her twitter story, storified:

If anyone can get info or ideas for further help, please share! Be safe out there, friends.

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That always.....

David P. said:

Unfortunately, given a few of the comments mentioned, in this case we have the opportunity to be ambassadors for basic decency. :/

Julie Hochstadter said:

we have an opportunity to be ambassadors for a cycling lifestyle. 

Sue Clark said:

I agree with the thought that I need to educate my friends, not exclude them, when they make stupid statements.

I am not sure if this is about bicycles or if its a tale of inhumanity.  It seems a group of misanthropes were on the road at night and perhaps fueled by whatever they were doing that evening. They come upon a seemingly vulernable looking person and decide to have a few laughs because they have checked their humanity at the door. It makes one ill. The antidote for that illness is the outpouring of support that the seemingly vulnerable person--- lets be human and give her a name, Jana, has received since the horror she suffered the other night.  As regards our "friends" who have blamed the victim or who blame the cyclist, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are busy and really did not read the story and did not stop to think about the caring person who went out in the middle of the night to look after a friend's cat and had to suffer this. I hope that on reflection our "friends" will think harder and better.  Then again, maybe I am naive and they are just as reprehensible as the passengers in the Tahoe.

Well I guess I can't say too much to that since I haven't been in that area (except maybe some Critical mass ride) in years. I do remember 4th of July's when riding through there was like a war zone, full of smoke and firecracker wrappers and nobody to be found (I used to live at Irving and Kimball). Maybe these kids have "grown up" and onto other mischief. Either way is that area still called "up and coming"? And I don't feel as safe at night riding anywhere as I do in daylight, Although scary stuff can still happen during the day (Sheridan and Wilson).

h' 1.0 said:

Kimball and Wrightwood? Really?

Davo said:

To be honest, I personally wouldn't want to be cycling in that area around that time. But that is still no excuse for what happened. 

We just posted this blog (copied/pasted below).

Ethan Spotts, Active Trans

Have you been harassed while riding a bike?

Active Trans member and Bike a Bee founder Jana Kinsman was violently harassed while riding her bike in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Her story has made headlines and enraged the biking community after it occured on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Active Trans wishes Jana a quick recovery and hopes that the criminals that committed this terrible crime are brought to justice. There is currently an online campaign to raise funds to assist Jan...

Jana’s story has resonated with many people. Although her case is particularly disturbing, it’s not uncommon for people biking to experience some form of harassment, verbally or otherwise, from people in cars. 

Active Trans asked Sgt. Joe Andruzzi, commanding officer of the Chicago Police Department’s Bicycle Patrol Unit, about what to do if you feel you are a victim of harassment while on a bicycle.

Active Trans: What is harassment?

Sgt. Joe Andruzzi: Harassment can be something as minimal as verbal name calling or hand gestures. A more serious form of harassment is assault, when verbal threats occur or when someone is using their car as a deadly weapon.

Essentially, if you felt someone was purposely threatening you with bodily harm, it might be assault. If someone actually makes contact with you, with their body or car, that could be considered a battery.

What should you do if you are a victim of harassment?
If you feel you are being harassed, the most important thing to do is to remove yourself from the situation. If you are riding, pull over, get onto the sidewalk and wait for the car or person to pass. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but it is important not to escalate the situation into an assault or battery.

If you think you may report the situation, document as many details as possible (license plate, driver description, where the car was headed, witness info, etc.)

When does it make sense to report it?
Plain and simple, if you are the victim of a crime, you should report it and feel empowered to do so.

It’s important to report instances of assault or battery. While a person not observing a traffic law or calling you a name is frustrating – it is not necessarily a reportable offense. If you are unsure if your experience was harassment, assault or battery, err on the side of caution and report it.

It’s extremely important to report reckless driving to 911 as soon as possible in case police officers can find the vehicle in question. When you do so, be sure to leave your contact information so that officers can follow up for more information.

What are the common mistakes that bicyclists make that weakens their case/report?
Making any contact with the motorist, verbally or otherwise, can weaken your case and potentially make you a part of the crime. Doing anything other than attempting to remove yourself from the situation could threaten the credibility of your report. However, you have the right to defend and protect yourself as needed.

What is the process of reporting harassment?
First, call 911 to report the incident. Based on the circumstances, officers will be dispatched to you or you will be given the option to submit a report over the phone. Please note that if your report is taken over the phone, it does not mean that it is less important.

Once the report is submitted, a detective will be assigned to the case. After interviewing you and any witnesses, the detective will determine if a crime has been committed and if it’s possible to identify the person involved.

Will the offender be arrested?
Once the report is completed, a police officer or detective assigned to the case will contact you to determine if the offender can be identified, located and placed under arrest if the circumstances warrant it. You, as the victim, would need to sign a complaint form.

After a person is arrested, it’s up to the state’s attorney office to decide whether or not charges will be filed. If charges are filed, the office would work with you to build a case. If not, the person would be released, but there would be an arrest on their record.

If a case goes to court, it’s extremely important for the victim or complaining witness to work with the state’s attorney, who acts as their representative. Unfortunately, it’s not a process that is simple and easy for the victim. 

Once a person is arrested, you’ll be given a court date and location to appear. At court you’ll discuss the matter with the state's attorney, who acts as your representative in court. While it may require several court appearances before the matter is adjudicated, it’s important you attend each court date.

If you are involved in a criminal court case, it could potentially be time consuming and frustrating. Please know that your vigilance will be rewarded with safer streets.

Disclaimer: Nothing contained in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law, nor does it recognize certifications of expertise in any phase of the practice of law by any agency, governmental or private, or by any group, organization or association.

Rebecca Resman's blog

Apologies if this has already been suggested, but is there any chance that anyone would want to join a big, late night ride in the Logan Square neighborhood as an additional show of solidarity? I don't know enough dedicated cyclists, or I'd organize a ride myself.

Exact same thing happened to me on Milwaukee @ Central Park on the way to work in the early morning hours in February 2012.  Different vehicle though.  I filed a police report too, but nothing ever came of it.  I spoke to the detective assigned to the case and he didn't seem too interested in pursuing anything, not that there was much.  I didn't get the license plate.  Sucks.

Excellent advice from the sarge, especially about removing yourself as possible;

and thanks for being on top of this Ethan/Rebecca/etc.

One thing I'd like to add--

I realize that Jana probably didn't have this opportunity, so I'm not offering it specific to her situation, but:

When you think a driver is behaving aggressively toward you, get in the habit of yelling out their license number repeatedly.

This serves a few purposes:

1) Helps you remember it by giving you motor/auditory memory in addition to visual memory

2) Gets a heads-up from potential witnesses

3) Reminds the driver that they are not anonymous

4) Hopefully worries the driver that others are watching

What the hell is wrong with people?

On a side note, I tried to report an assault about a year ago (cabbie tried to run me off the road), but the cops refused to file a report, claiming that trying to hit someone with a car was not assault. It's nice to know that at least Sgt. Andruzzi apparently agrees with me:

A more serious form of harassment is assault, when verbal threats occur or when someone is using their car as a deadly weapon.

Er... Jeff... already posted to this discussion at least twice...

The case has been classified as aggravated battery. The offenders have not been found, and there have been no arrests, so no one has been charged. You really got my hopes up there.

Adam Herstein (5.5 mi) said:

The sarge makes some excellent points. The difference between harassment and assault is important and everyone should know what that means. Report assault and battery! No victim, no crime. And last, you DO have the right to defend yourself!


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