Police investigating video of apparent racial attack at River Forest Jewel

Alleged attacker is prominent local developer, according to multiple sources

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By Maria Maxham

Staff Reporter

UPDATED June 3 at 7:30 p.m.

An update on the Village of River Forest website late in the day on June 3 stated that the alleged offender is now in police custody.

"Investigators and prosecutors are reviewing videos posted to social media, cell phone videos, store videos, and street camera videos, as well as interviewing all witnesses, including the victim. As part of this process, all police interview, incident, and evidence reports will be thoroughly reviewed by the Assistant State's Attorney assigned to the case," says the update.

"We have no tolerance for hate in River Forest," states the website. "We commend the witnesses that came forward to assist the victim and who provided vital information for this investigation."

The village said that an update will be provided after the Cook County State's Attorney's Office completes its review and recommends appropriate charges.

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A video posted Wednesday on Twitter appears to show a white man attacking a black woman, who was filming him as he walked to his car outside Jewel, 7525 W. Lake St. in River Forest.

River Forest police are investigating the incident along with the Cook County State's Attorney. Police Chief James O'Shea said the alleged victim had left the Jewel parking lot before police arrived, but that later in the afternoon she was at the police station providing a statement.

O'Shea said police were talking to multiple witnesses and reviewing video.

In the video, posted at 10:49 a.m. on June 3, the woman follows a man wearing a white "Aruba" T-shirt and blue mask. She says, "I'm in Starbucks getting my coffee and this man calls me a black bitch and tells me this is why everyone's dying."

The man doesn't immediately respond.

"Do you have anything to say for yourself now?" she asks. She repeats the question. Then asks it a third time.

At this point he stops and turns to face the camera, hand on hip. He stares for a few moments, then suddenly seems to grab or swipe at her phone.

"You touch me, I'm going to beat your ass," says the woman. There are struggling noises, but the camera doesn't capture what's going on, though it appears there is a physical altercation occurring.

"Don't f-----g touch me," yells the woman. Then, "Don't f-----g put your hands on me!"

The phone seems to have fallen to the ground, capturing two people who appear to be grappling.

There are more sounds of struggling, then the woman screams loudly and someone in the background says, "Oh!" as though commenting on something that just happened.

A man is heard in the background saying, "Hey, hey, hey," in what might be the sounds of bystanders breaking up the apparent altercation. You can see the video here

Multiple sources shown the video by Wednesday Journal have identified the man as Rob Palley, a prominent River Forest developer and head of Granite Realty. As of 5:39 p.m. on Wednesday, the company's website had been taken down. The site was functional as recently as Wednesday afternoon.

The Journal left a voice mail for Palley this afternoon. He has not responded at this hour. A text message was sent to the woman who took the video. She has also not responded at this hour.

On Twitter, the video was posted with the following description: "I was attacked at Jewel Osco in Oak Park, IL [in a response the poster said it was actually the River Forest Jewel] while I was trying to purchase Starbucks. This man called me a black bitch and said I couldn't speak English. Then he proceeds to say this is why black people are dying."

This is a developing story. Watch for updates.

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Reader Comments

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Joseph Benjamin from California   

Posted: June 17th, 2020 3:54 AM

Hello Readers .I am very happy to share this amazing testimony, i was hurt and heart broken when my husband  leave me for another woman i was confused and didn't know what to do, i loved him so much, i tried all i could to make her come back to me  but to no avail, on one faithfully day as i was coming from work i met a friend of mine whom i explain my problem to, and he  told me of a spell caster and a good spiritualist called "Dr. tunde  whom also made her pregnant when she was looking for a child, i contacted the spell caster through the email she gave to me, and the spell caster told me what to do and i did exactly as i was told, to my greatest surprise, my husband come back to me and started apologizing and now he is with me brothers and sisters if you  know you are passing through any kind problem contact him and i give you 100% guarantee that he will solve your problems. You can contact him via his email:babatundesolutioncentre1@gmail.com or via his whatsapp: +2348143581382 Also specialize in treating all kinds of illness, HERPES VIRUS, HEPATITIS B, CANCER, BRAIN DISEASE, INFERTILITY, DIABETES AND MORE

Joseph Benjamin from California   

Posted: June 17th, 2020 3:53 AM

Hello Readers .I am very happy to share this amazing testimony, i was hurt and heart broken when my husband  leave me for another woman i was confused and didn't know what to do, i loved him so much, i tried all i could to make her come back to me  but to no avail, on one faithfully day as i was coming from work i met a friend of mine whom i explain my problem to, and he  told me of a spell caster and a good spiritualist called "Dr. tunde  whom also made her pregnant when she was looking for a child, i contacted the spell caster through the email she gave to me, and the spell caster told me what to do and i did exactly as i was told, to my greatest surprise, my husband come back to me and started apologizing and now he is with me brothers and sisters if you  know you are passing through any kind problem contact him and i give you 100% guarantee that he will solve your problems. You can contact him via his email:babatundesolutioncentre1@gmail.com or via his whatsapp: +2348143581382 Also specialize in treating all kinds of illness, HERPES VIRUS, HEPATITIS B, CANCER, BRAIN DISEASE, INFERTILITY, DIABETES AND MORE

Joseph Benjamin from California   

Posted: June 17th, 2020 3:53 AM

Hello Readers .I am very happy to share this amazing testimony, i was hurt and heart broken when my husband  leave me for another woman i was confused and didn't know what to do, i loved him so much, i tried all i could to make her come back to me  but to no avail, on one faithfully day as i was coming from work i met a friend of mine whom i explain my problem to, and he  told me of a spell caster and a good spiritualist called "Dr. tunde  whom also made her pregnant when she was looking for a child, i contacted the spell caster through the email she gave to me, and the spell caster told me what to do and i did exactly as i was told, to my greatest surprise, my husband come back to me and started apologizing and now he is with me brothers and sisters if you  know you are passing through any kind problem contact him and i give you 100% guarantee that he will solve your problems. You can contact him via his email:babatundesolutioncentre1@gmail.com or via his whatsapp: +2348143581382 Also specialize in treating all kinds of illness, HERPES VIRUS, HEPATITIS B, CANCER, BRAIN DISEASE, INFERTILITY, DIABETES AND MORE

Joseph Benjamin from California   

Posted: June 17th, 2020 3:53 AM

Hello Readers .I am very happy to share this amazing testimony, i was hurt and heart broken when my husband  leave me for another woman i was confused and didn't know what to do, i loved him so much, i tried all i could to make her come back to me  but to no avail, on one faithfully day as i was coming from work i met a friend of mine whom i explain my problem to, and he  told me of a spell caster and a good spiritualist called "Dr. tunde  whom also made her pregnant when she was looking for a child, i contacted the spell caster through the email she gave to me, and the spell caster told me what to do and i did exactly as i was told, to my greatest surprise, my husband come back to me and started apologizing and now he is with me brothers and sisters if you  know you are passing through any kind problem contact him and i give you 100% guarantee that he will solve your problems. You can contact him via his email:babatundesolutioncentre1@gmail.com or via his whatsapp: +2348143581382 Also specialize in treating all kinds of illness, HERPES VIRUS, HEPATITIS B, CANCER, BRAIN DISEASE, INFERTILITY, DIABETES AND MORE

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: June 16th, 2020 4:14 PM

When asked during an interview what advice she had for young actors, the great Simone Signoret replied, "I don't give advice." And if you don't know who she was, I can't help you.

Gregg Kuenster  

Posted: June 15th, 2020 7:45 PM

In my experience; there is a percentage of the population that is looking for a reason to be offended in every encounter they have. I really feel sorry for these people because it is a miserable way to live. This is a great way to have a miserable life. So, my recommendation is to be someone that tries to turn the other cheek when possible. It is a simple choice between happiness and sadness.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: June 9th, 2020 9:30 AM

If a so called moderate voice posting here blathers nonsensically about people wanting "100 years in the electric chair and eliminate the police," perhaps the "values that define our culture" are in need of a serious and thoughtful review.

Gregg Kuenster  

Posted: June 9th, 2020 1:24 AM

A pundit shouting to get on board their train to who knows where. This movement of pundits joining calls to hang the "insert your boogeyman here" and commentators calling for censorship. Moderate voices seem to be fading with the escalating demands that speakers denounce the values that define our culture. 100 years in the electric chair and eliminate the police. That's the ticket.

Sarah D. James from River Forest  

Posted: June 8th, 2020 10:21 PM

?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?""Rachel Carlson Boultinghouse from Oak park (Facebook Verified) Posted: June 3rd, 2020 8:20 PM Can you imagine is a person of color had said something disparaging about that white guy at the Starbucks counter? A manager and a police officer would have been called by that white man" ?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"?"

Loren Young from Arlington   

Posted: June 8th, 2020 6:05 AM

I am more than ten years away from oak park/ river forest but I will never forget my treatment by those racist towns. This man that felt so emboldened to to disrespect and attack that woman of color is nothing new. I moved because I had officers from oak park and river forest and residents from oak park stalking and harassing me on a daily basis but I am confident what they truly are will come to light as well as Maybrook court.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 11:31 AM

@ Charlie: Great points. You left out the fact that "Tommy" is referred to as "her" on "his" FB page.

Adrienne Szarmack Smith  

Posted: June 4th, 2020 10:44 AM

The idea that any woman should be doubted or questioned about a man putting his hands on her, especially when there is video proof is reprehensible.

Gretchen James-Halter  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 11:49 PM

Women of color and all women should speak up when treated this way by any person - man or woman. She took a risk and was pretty courageous, but she outed a dark person that has no morals and who has, likely over all of his life, got away with this type of behavior through his money, his education, his gender, and the color of his skin. People just don't wake up and act like this at Starbucks. This is the culmination of many many occurrences and micro aggressions over time and getting away with it. Be vigilant, there's many more out there.like this. Out them! They ruin our society!

Charlie Kohler  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 11:20 PM

@jason and all offended by "Tommy's" comments: "Tommy" is not a real person. A quick search and look at the "Tommy McCoy" facebook page make that abundantly clear. Some would call "Tommy" a troll, others a bot, but the bottom line is "Tommy" is fake and only posts to instigate. Why debate with a person or persons hiding behind a fake name/profile/identity?

Amy Srodon  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 11:14 PM

What does it matter that she first thought the store was in Oak Park? OP/RF/FP/MP/EP all butt up against each other and sometimes it just depends what side of the street you're on. For someone new to the area it would be a very easy mistake.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 10:40 PM

@Tommy, you really like to dig the hole deeper. Why should we care what her social media says? Does that excuse his behavior? This the exact same logic people use when they excuse the police for bad behavior in many cases. The person was bad and a criminal so it's ok to treat them this way. Your attempt to explain away this situation because she has an "attitude" isn't a good look. I encourage you to think about how you are reacting to this situation and why you immediately side with the white guy. Your comments are all about finding fault in her and none finding fault in his actions.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 9:26 PM

Ericka Nichole Moore let her know to follow up that she is the one who said why people are dying and it was not the man

Ericka Nichole Moore  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 9:21 PM

She followed up shortly after posting the video to correct the location of the store.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 8:45 PM

@Tommy, yes she messed up and said Oak Park I am not really sure why that matters at all. The incident happened even if she said it happened on the moon. We need to be better man. Imagine this was your wife or mom or sister. I don't know what I would do If I was there and someone said this to a woman I was with. There is no defending this period. If he did nothing wrong is his reaction outside logical? Is her reaction? You can't make up that kind of emotion. Let's stop giving the white man a break or the benefit of the doubt anymore. This is just plain wrong. We need to take a stand for things to get better.

F'lay Griffith from Oak Park   

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 8:27 PM

The comments submitted which defend the offender/aggressor & places blame on the victim are clearly from the same type of systemic racist, oppressive white people that have caused the uprising currently going on TODAY! It is YOUR IGNORANT thinking and LACK of education about the REAL Black experience that has solidified your WHITE PRIVILEGE. You were taught by your white racist/oppressive ANCESTORS and EDUCATION system that EVERYTHING invented, discovered, created, and inspired in this country was by the hands of Anglo saxons, whereby lulling you into believing you were superior and blacks were inferior. And now that your a$$e$ are getting a wakeup because the status quo is being disrupted, you want to get pissy. If I thought for a minute that you had the right to some sympathy due to your ignorance I'd grant you that, but all you deserve is what your going to continue getting if you don't shut up and open up your minds. It is not our jobs to educate white people on the history of racism, white supremacy, and how it permeates every aspect of our society even today. It's YOUR job as white people to educate yourselves; to learn the history you weren't taught, acknowledge the atrocities white people have commited and continue to commit, and learn how YOU'RE taught to be racist. It's white people's responsibility to educate yourselves and each other so you can dismantle systemic racism and stop the oppression of black people. You can start here...

Rachel Carlson Boultinghouse from Oak park   

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 8:20 PM

Can you imagine is a person of color had said something disparaging about that white guy at the Starbucks counter? A manager and a police officer would have been called by that white man.

F'lay Griffith from Oak Park   

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 8:03 PM

.... Start Here White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo Why I'm No Longer To White People Talking About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 8:03 PM

Jason Cohen, a newspaper comment section is not a place to judge a person or even consider evidence. I will tell you I was at an event and when leaving I was stopped by 3 very large men. There was no reason or explanation why I was being blocked from existing. I was the only person of another color at the event. I could consider that as the reason although I will never know since the leader never explained other then say, "Don't do that again". It meant nothing and I did search to identify the 3 individuals from their clothing which I could later ask what each person meant when I was not at a disadvantage. This is not the only time I have been a "Victim". I have been an equal opportunity "Victim". Now how can you judge or side with what I have written since it is just my side. Let this play out in court. I was right about what the charge should be brought about the tarnished fired Officer, of it being 2nd degree and also about the 3 other disgraced fired Officer's, not being charges against them. You have to let the legal system work. It is not always fair, although it is the system we have. If you want to learn how to build a better Police system, it works within the structure of the system and that is where people are missing the change. By the way, I did read the article and there is no proof of any name calling going on in the store. That is going to take time to assemble

F'lay Griffith from Oak Park   

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 8:02 PM

The comments submitted which defend the offender/aggressor & places blame on the victim are clearly from the same type of systemic racist, oppressive white people that have caused the uprising currently going on TODAY! It is YOUR IGNORANT thinking and LACK of education about the REAL Black experience that has solidified your WHITE PRIVILEGE. You were taught by your white racist/oppressive ANCESTORS and EDUCATION system that EVERYTHING invented, discovered, created, and inspired in this country was by the hands of Anglo saxons, whereby lulling you into believing you were superior and blacks were inferior. And now that your a$$e$ are getting a wakeup because the status quo is being disrupted, you want to get pissy. If I thought for a minute that you had the right to some sympathy due to your ignorance I'd grant you that, but all you deserve is what your going to continue getting if you don't shut up and open up your minds. It is not our jobs to educate white people on the history of racism, white supremacy, and how it permeates every aspect of our society even today. It's YOUR job as white people to educate yourselves; to learn the history you weren't taught, acknowledge the atrocities white people have commited and continue to commit, and learn how YOU'RE taught to be racist. It's white people's responsibility to educate ourselves and each other so we can dismantle systemic racism and stop the oppression of black people. Why don't you start here: It's our job as white people to educate ourselves; to learn the history we weren't taught, acknowledge the atrocities white people have commited and continue to commit, and learn how we're taught to be racist. It's white people's responsibility to educate yourselves and each other so we can dismantle systemic racism and stop the oppression of black people. You can start here...

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 7:56 PM

It's disappointing to see people attempting to blame her for this. Given what's going on in this country you really think she should stay silent?? It's time for all of us to stop allowing this type of behavior. I bet if there was a black man saying horrible things to a white woman everyone would want to throw the book at him. Imagine if this woman was your wife or mother or daughter or sister? Should anyone have to tolerate this? You are the problem if you can't see how there should be zero tolerance for this. Throw the book at him.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 7:48 PM

@Tommy, did you not read the article? What he said inside was corroborated by several witnesses. Then we have the outside incident where he put hands on her. He could have just rushed to his car and left. It's time for ALL of us to stop defending people like this. This wasn't an accident. This man has hate in his heart or he would never have even considered saying something like this especially with all that's going on.

Sonia Bychkov Green from River Forest  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 7:15 PM

It hurts my heart to see 2 of the 5 comments posted here focused on protecting the offender and/or putting blame on the victim. Enough. Please, enough. There were multiple eye witnesses to all of this and if you educate yourself on this you will see that. And frankly, if all you do is read the WJ story and watch the video, and you don't see racism in action, then ask yourself why not. He stands there, with a smirk, hands on hip, and then appears to lunge at her. This is the face of white privilege and we need to have a conversation in our communities about the racism that exists right here. I'm an ally: I'm here to listen and learn and help however I can.

Ellen Edwards  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 7:04 PM

Klara Gabor, why should the woman victim have to bear responsibility for de-escalating the incident? Why not give her the benefit of the doubt? Are you being influenced by her (or the instigator's) race?

Gia Rombakis  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 6:56 PM

@Klara don't you think that black women have been silent long enough? Yes it would've been easy to walk away from an insult. But a racial slur? Do you think it's easy? Do you think that's acceptable? Especially in this climate? You may not like the language that she used but I don't see you denouncing the language or the actions that the man took. That speaks volumes for you.

Klara Gabor  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 6:45 PM

I was not there to witness any of this. This man may indeed be a racist but, the woman involved was not helping the situation. She could have ignored him and considered the source but, she followed him escalating the matter and her language speaks volumes.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 6:42 PM

Jason Cohen I do not know the man or the woman. The video shows an individual video taping a man as he walks with a female antagonizing a response from the man. Maybe you could better explain why you know him as a disgusting racist. It could help the woman with her case. It may be that the Wednesday Journal can not get a comment from either party because they both have now engaged legal counsel. That is pure speculation without facts. There are camera's in Jewel, with customers and no video started until minutes later from the cell phone. Maybe some thing did happen that the man started although it does not show it on this video

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 6:23 PM

There have been many eyewitnesses to this attack. This man is a disgusting racist and I hope he will get what he deserves. No matter what he won't find it easy to do business around here anymore. We need to get rid of anyone like this in our community. I am glad there's proof so there's no question about what actually happened.

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