Police disturbed by violent incidents

By Stewart Warren

DeKalb Police are disturbed by a quickly growing list of violent, unprovoked incidents started by blacks and involving white victims.

Since the middle of October 1991, DeKalb Police investigated eight reports of attacks and other types of violent incidents, an average of some sort of problem involving blacks and whites happening about every 15 days.

It is not clear, however, whether the attacks are racially motivated, although they are “unusual,” said DeKalb Police Chief Don Berke. “I don’t perceive in the community these types of racial problems,” he said.

Racial slurs were exchanged during only one of the attacks, DeKalb Police Lt. Chuck Kross said. “The interesting thing is there were no stated racial slurs by blacks, but there were by the whites,” he said.

A white woman who was insulted and attacked by a group of black men on Oct. 12 at Stadium View Apartments called the men derogatory names, Kross said.

The first three incidents happened during NIU’s Homecoming weekend, and people who attended two large events at the Days Inn, 1212 W. Lincoln Hwy., and another at the Chick Evans Field House, might be responsible for the violence, Kross said.

Many of the people at the two Homecoming celebrations did not attend NIU and were from Chicago or Rockford. People who come to DeKalb to party “don’t have the same sense of responsibility to the community that students do,” Kross said.

The police investigation into the incidents is hampered because only two arrests were made in just one of the eight incidents, Kross said. The police have one-sided versions of the events in seven incidents because “aggressors don’t usually call the police,” he said.

Titus D. Bates, 18, Chicago, was charged with battery in the Oct. 12 problem at Stadium View Apartments. Also arrested was Curtis L. Berry, 18, Chicago, who was charged with criminal damage to property. Both men paid court costs, restitution to the victims and were sentenced to six months probation.

Although people who come to DeKalb to attend parties or drink at the bars often are blamed for violent weekend incidents, Kross pointed out that several of the attacks happened during the week.

Police admit they are baffled by the incidents but say they are not surprised by escalating violence in DeKalb.

“Society is more violent today—not only in our community, but throughout the country,” Kross said. “In the 1960s, Richard Speck committed murders that were considered a national atrocity. Crimes like that occur weekly today.”