Prosecutors: Trayvon Martin case led to racial beating in Oak Park
Alton Hayes III of Oak Park. | Photo by Cook County Sheriff's Office
Updated: September 21, 2012 1:43PM
An Oak Park man charged with a hate crime told police he was so upset about the Trayvon Martin case in Florida that he beat up a man because he was white early April 17.
Alton L. Hayes III and a 15-year-old Chicago boy walked up behind the 19-year-old man victim and pinned his arms to his side, police said. Hayes, 18, then picked up a large tree branch, pointed it at the man and said, “Empty your pockets, white boy.”
The two allegedly rifled through the victim’s pockets, then threw him to the ground and punched him “numerous times” in the head and back before running away, police said. Hayes and the boy are black; the victim is white.
After being arrested, Hayes told police he was upset by the Trayvon Martin case and beat the man up because he was white, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said, citing court records.
Martin, 17, was fatally shot Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was charged April 11 with second-degree murder. Zimmerman is Hispanic, while Martin was black.
Hayes, 18, of 1233 N. Woodbine Ave., Oak Park, was charged with attempted robbery, aggravated battery and a hate crime, all felonies, Oak Park police Detective Cmdr. Ladon Reynolds said.
Hayes was ordered held on $80,000 bond and remained in the Cook County Jail on Friday. He will next appear in court May 11. The boy was referred to juvenile court.
Two days after he was arrested Hayes’ driver’s license suspended for a year by the Illinois Secretary of State.
He was on supervision for an earlier DUI conviction at the time of that arrest.
Dave Drucker, spokesman for the Secretary of State Jesse White’s office, said Haye’s driver’s license was administratively suspended effective April 19 for one year, due to his refusing to take a breathalyzer test following a traffic stop in Chicago on March 4, after allegedly running a stop sign.
He was also charged with DUI and DUI over .8 percent. His next court hearing in that case was scheduled for April 24, in Chicago.
Cook County court records show Hayes has been arrested six times over the past 27 months for alleged traffic offenses, and issued a total of 21 traffic citations
Less than a month past his 16th birthday, Hayes was stopped by Oak Park police on Jan. 10, 2010, for allegedly running a stop sign and having no driver’s license.
Three weeks later he was arrested by North Riverside police and issued seven tickets, after illegally passing another car on the left. He was found guilty of the passing violation and having no valid license, as well as DUI over 0.8. He was fined $1,390 and given two years court supervision, of which he still owes $1,190.
In 2011, Hayes was arrested three times by Chicago police for alleged traffic infractions. Of the nine charges, eight were dismissed. His one conviction was for driving on a suspended license, for which he was sentenced to SWAP, the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program community service.