Apr 3, 2024 - News

Chicago implements new fines for assaulting parking attendants

Phone screen

The pop-up on the Park Chicago app. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

The Park Chicago app is alerting users of new penalties aimed at protecting parking enforcement agents.

Why it matters: There are an increasing number of city workers who've been threatened or experienced violence on the job, says downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who proposed the ordinance that passed in November.

Between the lines: While Chicago doesn't track data on assaults against city workers, Hopkins said at a November hearing that they've received "an overwhelming amount of personal narratives and anecdotal stories" from workers feeling threatened.

Context: Hopkins, chair of the public safety committee, introduced the ordinance after the city's parking meter operator LAZ Parking told him some parking attendants were facing violence and threats while on the job, a spokesperson for the alder tells Axios.

What they're saying: "While performing my duties, I've encountered multiple interactions with unhappy patrons and parkers," parking attendant Ashley Campbell testified at the November hearing. "While enforcing in the Lakeview area a patron was driving down Belmont and decided to throw a drink at me."

How it works: The ordinance extends protections to parking meter attendants, health inspectors, ward superintendents, Animal Care and Control, and other workers with the authority to issue citations.

  • Under state law, anyone who physically harms — or threatens to physically harm — another person can be charged with assault and face jail time, but Chicago police can now also add the ordinance violation to the charge in these cases.
  • That means that if the Cook County State's Attorney's Office chooses not to pursue the case, it'll still be sent to the city's Law Department, where city lawyers can seek a fine up to $1,000.
  • Police can also choose to charge someone who assaults a protected city worker solely with violating the ordinance.

Yes, but: If city lawyers want to seek incarceration up to six months in addition to the fine, they'll have to recommend the case be prosecuted in state court.


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