I apologize for the jocular reference in the headline, which move buffs will recognize as the famous last word uttered by Charles Foster Kane in the legendary film “Citizen Kane.” There is nothing at all funny about what happened to Jessica Hughes, a 19-year-old student at DePaul University in Chicago, who was attacked and beaten aboard a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train on her way home from a morning class last Thursday.
Chicago station WGN has a report on the crime but fails to mention the race of the suspects until ten paragraphs in. Both are described as “African American” and in their “mid-20’s.” (The article omits altogether details about other passengers, who stood by impassively as the assault occurred before their eyes.)
In an interview with reporters captured on video, a bruised and teary Hughes describes her ordeal. “He kept beating on me,” she sobs. “I’m yelling ‘help’ to the other people and no one came “
Fortunately, a surveillance video has furnished authorities with a screen cap of the suspects:
Police are also hopeful that Hughes’s cell phone, which was the target of of the perpetrators, contains usable fingerprints that will help them collar the pair.
The CTA has released a statement:
The CTA continues to work closely with CPD as they investigate the matter, which includes reviewing and providing them with any video surveillance footage.
Overall, serious crime is very rare on CTA trains and buses, averaging seven incidents for every 10 million rides in 2015.
CTA has more than 23,000 security cameras across all stations, buses and trains; it’s one of the few system-wide networks in the nation and has proved to be an invaluable tool for police investigating crimes committed on or near CTA property. In fact, the cameras are a contributing factor behind the 25 percent decrease in crime reported across CTA properties in 2015 – the fourth straight year that crimes have decreased on the CTA.