DePaul student allegedly beaten on West Side

April 28, 2008 3:53:09 PM PDT
A DePaul University student says he was beaten while walking home over the weekend on Chicago's West Side. The 21-year old claims a group of young men attacked him after he said he was not in a street gang.

The college student suffered injuries, including a fractured neck. He says more needs to be done to keep people safe on Chicago's streets.

Gianni Seifer is a senior at DePaul University studying public policy. He says he keeps to himself.

He was walking home from a friend's house around 10 o'clock Saturday night when a group of young men in their late teens or early twenties got out of a car and asked him who he was affiliated with. When he said he was not in a gang, he was attacked.

Seifer is the pride and joy of his single mother, Darea. He says the group of men started kicking him in the face with their boots and punching him in the neck and chest until he passed out. It happened in front of the Austin Community Academy High School.

"A guy ran in front of me and just punched me in my face," said Gianni Seifer.

He was in a great deal of pain, and medication did not appear to be helping him.

"I have got like a real strong headache and like my chest and my body is like real sore. It's not safe anywhere, regardless of where you walk. You're basically taking a chance," said Gianni Seifer.

"They actually fractured bones in his neck. Because of the way they put pressure with their foot in his face, they stomped him. He made it home. He has no idea how he made it. He stumbled down the street, but God brought him home to me," said mom Darea Seifer.

She says she called 911 and they took her son to Loretto Hospital and then transferred him to Stroger. She said police filed a report after interviewing him at the hospital. Police still have not been to the home to talk to them.

"It makes you feel that you are not important, that they could kind of care less whatever happened to you," said Gianni Seifer.

"I pay taxes, I work, I'm a college grad, everything. I'm doing what's expected of me in society. I expect things, too. I expect the police department to do what they have to do," said Darea Seifer.

"We have a lot of crews that operate with a small group of people. It could be just a crew that tries to rob people or, I mean, we have got serious poverty out here," said Bob Vondrasen, South Austin Coalition.

"More police and more lights everywhere, people normally commit crimes when they figure no one is watching," said Gianni Seifer on what needs to be done to curb crime.

Police said they do not have a report of the beating, but officers told the South Austin Coalition the report is still being processed.

Darea Seifer says people have to get more involved and report crime when they see it. Gianni Seifer says he plans to return to DePaul for classes and for his job on campus.

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