Friday, April 22, 2022 3:38PM
CTA Red Line trains were patrolled by security volunteers and martial artists amid increasing crime on Chicago trains.
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Friday's goal for the group was to make sure their presence was felt, going to each railcar and reassuring passengers they were there solely for their safety.
"By the time police get called, somebody's already been hurt," said Tio Hardiman of Violence Interrupters. "My staff are trained in de-escalating situations, so if we see somebody that wants to assault somebody, we are just going to intervene."
They hopped on board the Red Line with one destination in mind: getting to a point where crime on the train is stopped.
"We understand how to go into a situation and neutralize it. Not only that, we have military training. I have airborne rangers here. I have a Navy Seal," said Andre "Tank" Hart, a volunteer.
Those teams of unarmed volunteer security officers and martial artists quickly maneuvered from one railcar to the next, making their presence felt.
Near North robbery: Man hit with bottle, robbed near Chicago station on Red Line, CPD says
"I wish y'all could be on here every day with us! We need y'all everyday!" said CTA rider Dana Carr.
They brought a much-needed peace to passengers."Later on, after 6:00 or so, I think it's not that safe," said CTA rider Ellora Shane. "I do like the idea... We always could use help in the city of Chicago. We can always use help."
This effort comes at a time when Chicago estimates violent crime on the system is up 17% from last year.
"It's good to have them on the train, but you just don't know. Anything could happen at any time," said CTA rider Santiago Garcia. "There's no cops... I used to see them around, but not anymore. So that's the reason I don't feel safe and everything that's going on especially, on the Red Line."
On Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin and Congressman Chuy Garcia sent a letter to the CTA, calling on the agency to do more to ensure safety on the trains. Chicago police and the CTA have pledged more patrol officers.
The idea of civilians taking actions into their own hand concerns some riders.
"Leave that to the police. You know, that's like police work. And, if you're not police then you shouldn't do police work," said CTA rider Mel Jackson. "It's good to have eyes all over, so we'll see how that works and it's like, I don't know, I hate to see people risk their lives and do police work if they're not a police officer, so I don't know how it's gonna work out."
But, that concern was not enough to deter the group's plans to patrol the platforms and hopefully, they said, work side-by-side with the City.
"We're not the police. We're not vigilantes. We're out to try and make sure that people feel safe when they are boarding CTA trains," Hardiman said.
The group plans to do this again sometime next week. Meanwhile, police are urging riders and volunteer security officers not to intervene. Instead, police ask people who witness a crime or something suspicious to call 911.
Published April 22, 2022 • Updated on April 22, 2022 at 8:05 am
In hopes of combating a string of violent attacks on CTA trains and platforms over the past several months, teams of unarmed security guards and people trained in martial arts will ride the Red Line for an eight-hour shift Friday to be on the lookout for crime.
The effort however is not led by the city of Chicago, or Chicago Police. Instead, community activist Tio Hardiman is leading the charge.
“We want to be proactive and preemptive. We don’t want things to get bad before we do something, things are already getting bad,” Hardiman said. “Put yourself in the shoes of some working-class person, getting up to go to work and someone gets up in your face on the train.”
Hardiman says he has called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department to collaborate with volunteer patrols and work with him to identify train lines and problem time periods to continue the eight-hour shifts on an ongoing basis.
Who Will Patrol the CTA Friday, And on Which Trains?
Hardiman's plan is to have 10 unarmed, volunteer security guards specifically for Red Line trains — 5 on northbound trains to Howard, and 5 on southbound trains to 95th Street.
Hardiman says the volunteers will wear a specific logo to be identifiable, and will ride the Red Line for an eight-hour shift beginning at 11 am Friday.
Who are the Unarmed Volunteers?
Hardiman said his volunteers won’t have weapons, but most are veterans and have martial arts skills.
They also have been trained to act as “violence interrupters” to deescalate situations, and also will be able to direct those with substance abuse problems or people who are homeless to community resources.
Andre “Tank” Hart, a former Marine whose 300 Elite Protection security firm will provide officers for Friday’s patrols, said his officers will not be armed but many are military veterans and champions in martial arts such as jiujitsu and judo.
Volunteers from God’s Gorillas, a South Side nonprofit organization, also will ride along.
Tank had this to say when he texted me regarding this story…
While being under the watchful eye of Sensei Gary I Learned as a very young adult to PUSH TO EXCEL WHEN YOU ARE A NANKA JUDOKA!!
CALIFORNIA HAS THE STRONGEST IN OUR GREAT U.S. of AMERICA!
Thankyou Tank for those kind words but what you are doing to help the community you live in (Chicago) is exactly what Kano had in mind!
Tank with the Reverend Jesse Jackson
Tank with the Late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s son
Tank with the Reverend Al Sharpton
2022 Arizona State Championships Tucson 4/23 results with 200+ competitors where we refereed
* Note two divisions were left with a tie for first as they should’ve played a tie-breaker match & didn’t
May - 2022
- 13th Friday to 15th Sunday - Golden State Open & Israel Hernandez Clinic, Covina, CA
- 19th Thursday to 22nd Sunday - Senior National Championships, Daytona Beach, FL
- 18th Saturday - Sensei Gary's Birthday Scrimmage, Claremont, CA
- 24th Friday & 26th Sunday - National Junior Olympics, San Jose, CA
- 17th Sunday - California State Games Judo Event, San Diego, CA
- 21st Thursday to 24th Sunday - Grassroots Judo Summer Nationals, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- 28th Thursday to 31st Sunday - U.S. Open, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- 2nd Friday to 4th Sunday - Grassroots Judo Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa. CA
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