Prosecutors say a student launched an unprovoked hate crime attack when he tore down a pride flag and punched two staff members in the face at College of Lake County in Grayslake.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Facklam said the incident happened on Thursday.
Jason D. May, 20, of Wadsworth, walked into a testing lab and into an employee-only area.
A Progress Pride Flag was hanging behind one of the employees. May went behind the staff member’s desk and tore the flag off the wall, Facklam said.
The employee tried to stop May from leaving and an altercation ensued.
May pushed the female employee and punched her in the face, Facklam said.
Facklam said a second employee came to the first employee’s aid and May punched the second employee in the face and shoved him up against a metal container.
The employees grabbed the pride flag back from May, who left the area, Facklam said.
The College of Lake County Police Department was called and began investigating.
May was charged with two counts of aggravated battery and arrested on Saturday. He was ordered held on a $50,000 bond.
Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a third charge of hate crime against May.
During a bond hearing Wednesday, Facklam asked the court to increase May’s bond to $150,000.
May does not have a prior criminal record, his attorney said in court.
Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak kept May’s bond at $50,000.
“This was an unprovoked attack not only on the CLC employees, but also on the LGBTQIA community. It is important to point out that this offender went out of his way to enter the workspace of the CLC staff so that he could pull down the Pride flag which proudly represents tolerance, love, and equality,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
“We know that hate crimes against the LGBTQIA community have been on the rise in this country. Hate has no home in Lake County, and this State’s Attorney’s Office will do everything to protect those who are subject to intolerance or violence simply because of who they are or who they love,” Rinehart said.
“Unfortunately, we are in a time where stigma and violence against the LGBTQ+ community — and specifically against the transgender community — is on the rise. It is so important that we are combating this hatred with adequate support and resources for the LGBTQ+ population as well as increased community education and advocacy,” the LGBTQ+ Center of Lake County said in a statement.
May is scheduled to appear in court again on July 20 for a preliminary hearing.