Woman Believes Beach Violence Covered Up

City officials say incidents handled promptly

By Dick Johnson
|  Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011  |  Updated 7:03 AM CDT
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A Chicago woman speaks out about what she saw at North Avenue Beach on the day it was shut down.

A Chicago woman speaks out about what she saw at North Avenue Beach on the day it was shut down.

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A Chicago woman who played witness to a beach melee on Memorial Day weekend wants Chicago police and officials to come clean about what happened along the lakefront in May.

City officials said they closed North Avenue Beach on May 30 because of excessive heat, but Amy Schwartz says no one is talking about the excessive violence that prompted her to call 911 that day.

"There's a fight breaking out on the beach because there's nothing but animals covering this beach today," Schwartz phoned into the police. "What the hell is going on?"

Schwartz  said she was walking from Oak Street Beach toward North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day when she witnessed a woman being beaten by a gang of people on the beach.

"They were being rude and abusive and throwing trash around and defecating," Schwartz said. "The crowd became very animated. They were cheering on the beating and more people joined in, so I kept walking forward. I was afraid I could be next."

Schwartz believes the story of what really happened that day is being purposely downplayed in the name of saving Chicago's summer tourist business and the reputations of the city's new mayor and police superintendent.

Both Garry McCarthy and Rahm Emanuel have said the people suffering from heat exhaustion was the only reason for closing the beach. A city spokesman says the violence calls were handled promptly, and deny there's any attempt to spin the facts.

But they haven't convinced everyone.

"There were other calls that I heard on the tapes reporting the same incident I saw," Schwartz said. "I know we didn’t all have the same hallucination. Denial is not protecting anyone. I expect them to acknowledge the truth and do something about it."

Police presence has been boosted significantly at the beach since Memorial Day.

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