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Downtown beating witness: ‘They were going to kill that young man’

WGN-TV Chicago 4/18/2023 Ben Bradley
© Provided by WGN-TV Chicago

CHICAGO — Lenora Dennis not only witnessed the attack of a couple on Wabash Avenue Saturday night, she stepped in to help.

“They were going to kill that young man,” she said. “They were stomping his head into the concrete.”

Dennis ran across Wabash and said she yelled and cursed at the teenagers who were hitting and robbing the couple. 

She was relieved to see a police car approach but said officers, faced with multiple reports of violent acts downtown, didn’t stop. 

“I literally stepped in front of a squad car and motioned them over to see this was an assault on the street in progress; and the police just drove around me,” she said.

Related: What we know and don’t know about video of downtown beating

She said the group of young people briefly ran down the street but then returned. 

“When they came back they were beating the couple again,” she said.

Police reports reviewed by WGN Investigates say the couple, who was visiting from out of town, both suffered blows that left them bloodied and bruised. They were also robbed of their mobile phones, an Apple watch and even their shoes.  

Related: ‘We’re so scared right now’: Indiana couple caught in downtown Chicago violence

Dennis said she ushered the couple into the flagship Macy’s store where they hid until they could safely leave. Eventually, Dennis drove them to the 1st District police station where she said a desk sergeant told her words to the effect of: “This is happening because Brandon Johnson got elected.”

“I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life and would’ve never expected that,” Dennis said.  “If that’s a precursor to what’s about to happen that’s a total and complete problem.”

Dennis also had a message for the parents of the young people who took part in the attack: “You all have to start being accountable for your children.”

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