Evanston, IL – Video footage from city security cameras showed members of the Streetplus Evanston Clean Team kicking and beating a homeless man whom they’d caught urinating in public on Monday afternoon (video below).
The incident occurred just after 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 near Fountain Square in Evanston and was captured by three city-owned security cameras, according to the Evanston Patch.
The city said the video showed a white pickup truck loaded with bags of trash pulled up to the curb and stopped in a disabled parking spot.
Then five members of the city-contracted Streetplus Evanston Clean Team emerged from the truck and confronted a homeless man who appeared to have been relieving himself on a utility box, the Evanston Patch reported.
The uniformed employees, who work for the New York-based Streetplus Corporation, are seen talking to the homeless man for about two minutes before the confrontation turned violent.
The video showed the Streetplus crew surrounded the homeless man and worked to separate him from of the employees whom he looked to be arguing with in the video.
There is no audio but the body language in the video indicated the confrontation grew more heated as it went on, the Evanston Patch reported.
The video showed that two bystanders tried to intervene and defuse the situation but the homeless man, wearing a green football jersey and a black jacket, pushed one of the good Samaritans aside.
One of the Streetplus employees tried to walk away from the confrontation but the video showed the homeless man chased after him, the Evanston Patch reported.
The other Streetplus employees followed the homeless man into the road and then circled him, the video showed.
The uniformed workers began tussling with the man and the video showed he fell to the pavement.
That was when several of the Streetplus employees began kicking and punching the homeless man, the Evanston Patch reported.
One of the bystanders continued to try to stop the city contractors from hurting the homeless man.
The Streetplus crew eventually stopped and walk away from their victim, the video showed.
The video showed the Streetplus employees got back into the white pickup truck they had arrived in and drove away, leaving a bag of trash in the parking spot they had occupied, the Evanston Patch reported.
The city suspended the Streetplus program as soon as the video of the beating came to light.
“The actions captured in the footage of this incident are disturbing and entirely unacceptable, and are not in line with the City’s values,” the city of Evanston said in a statement. “The City has immediately suspended the Streetplus program pending further investigation of this incident.”
Evanston police said they were investigating the incident, the Evanston Patch reported.
The Evanston City Council voted unanimously last year to allocate $508,000 in federal COVID-19 relief money to Streetplus for cleaning and maintaining Evanston’s business districts.
“Ensuring Evanston’s unique and vibrant retail districts are clean and welcoming is essential not only for our small businesses, but for our citywide economic recovery,” Evanston’s Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak said in a statement in November of 2022.
“The Streetplus Evanston Clean Team will be a visible, friendly presence in our core downtown business area and neighborhood business districts, working in partnership with business owners, community members, and special service area representatives to make our city shine,” Zalmezak added.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content:
(WARNING GRAPHIC) A few days ago I filmed 5 contracted city employees in Evanston, Illinois (a city that borders Chicago) beat up a senior citizen after a verbal altercation. They work for Streetplus, a clean team that picks up trash, removes graffiti and work closely with the pic.twitter.com/JCxBSCPYjF
— Kevin Dahlgren (@kevinvdahlgren) February 20, 2023