QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — An aggravated battery charge has been filed against a Quincy, Illinois, bar owner in connection with an attack on a Black suburban Chicago college student.
The Adams County state’s attorney’s office on Wednesday accused Steven Homan, 47, of placing his arm around the neck of Jazzpher Evans, 19, of Joliet and dragging her for 20 seconds.
Evans, a freshman member of Quincy University’s women’s basketball team, has said she and another Quincy student were standing near the DJ booth of a bar called The Barn to make a music request when the April 4 attack began. She said Homan, who is white, cursed at her, threw her to the ground, punched her and put her in a chokehold until she was unconscious.
“He didn’t even say anything to me at first,” she recalled in news conference at a Joliet church after the attack. “The first thing he did was put his hands on me. He didn’t ask me to leave. He didn’t ask me what I was doing by the DJ booth. His first instinct was to shove me up against the gate.”
Evans said the bar owner cursed at her, threw her to the ground, punched her and put her in a chokehold until she was unconscious. She expressed the belief the attack was racially motivated.
A meeting of the Quincy Human Rights Commission after the attack attracted hundreds of area residents and prompted a protest outside the bar.
In a statement through their attorney, Keenan Saulter, the Evans family said they were encouraged charges were filed but said it was the first step in obtaining justice.
Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum said Homan will plead not guilty to the charge.
“I feel confident once the evidence is looked at fairly and impartially, there will be a determination of not guilty,” Rosenblum said.
The Quincy Police Department says it is conducting a separate administrative investigation into possible liquor license violations at the bar and will turn its findings over to Mayor Kyle Moore to consider action against the establishment.