Chicago: Man in ‘Peacekeeper’ Vest Arrested in Brutal Beating and Robbery of Motorist

A man wearing a neon “Peacekeeper” vest was arrested for brutally beating and robbing a motorist Friday night in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. The beating was caught on police surveillance video. Officers caught the suspect while he was fleeing the scene and trying to take the “Peacekeeper” vest off. The suspect, Oscar Montes, was recently released from a twelve-year sentence on a gang-related shooting charge that was pled down from attempted murder.

Oscar Montes, booking photo via Cook County Sheriff.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced this week he was deploying yellow vest wearing “Peacekeepers” on the streets of Chicago in an effort to reduce violence in the city during Memorial Day weekend, “This weekend, Chicagoans should expect to see yellow-vested Peacekeepers on the streets. As part of the state’s anti-violence strategy with a community-focused approach, these outreach workers will help de-escalate and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on the attack (excerpt):

…Oscar Montes, 31, was in a group of seven or eight people that pulled a man from a car and punched and kicked him on the ground in the 2300 block of South Washtenaw Avenue, Cook County prosecutors said in a Sunday bond hearing.

Montes took the man’s cellphone and struck him over the head with it, and another person stole the man’s wallet, prosecutors said.

The man’s face and ribs were fractured, and his eye was damaged to the point that he suffered partial blindness, prosecutors said.

Officers watching the attack on video from a police surveillance camera dispatched officers who were nearby tending a large crowd, prosecutors said. Montes was allegedly seen by officers throwing the stolen cellphone in the street as he left.

When officers arrived, they saw Montes walking away and trying to take off a neon vest that read “peacekeepers,” according to a police report. No one in court Sunday mentioned a peacekeepers vest or a connection to an anti-violence organization.

Montes is being held without bail.

CWBChicago also reported on the attack and details of Montes’ criminal background (excerpt):

Oscar Montes, 31, was held without bail by Judge Maryam Ahmad on charges of robbery, aggravated battery, and unlawful vehicular invasion Sunday afternoon.

…A 37-year-old man was pulled from his vehicle by “multiple offenders,” including one wearing a neon vest, a Chicago police spokesperson said Saturday. During Montes’ bail hearing, prosecutor Charles Golaszewski said six or seven men joined Montes in pulling the victim from the driver’s seat.

The group punched and kicked him on the ground…

…Montes is on parole for a 2012 case in which he pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle. Golaszewski said those allegations stemmed from an incident involving a rival gang member of Montes in Little Village. Court records show Montes was originally charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

He was released on May 6, 2022, after serving a little more than ten years of a 12-year sentence, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records. State officials are reviewing his parole status in light of the new allegations.

Midway through the long holiday weekend Chicago has already seen 37 people shot including 9 fatally wounded.

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