Illinois Bar Owner Arrested for Attack on Black College Student After Days of Public Pressure

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An Illinois bar owner has accused of assaulting a college student until she was unconscious has been arrested following a 10-day investigation. Steven William Homan, 47, was arrested and taken to the Adams County Jail shortly on Thursday charged with aggravated battery for an April 4 encounter with 19-year-old Jazzpher “Jazz” Evans. According to the law enforcement officials, Homan bonded out of jail on $25,000 bond later in the afternoon. Homan is expected to make his first court appearance  on May 4. Evans attorney Keenan J. Saulter issued a statement through his law firm Wednesday after Adams County State’s Attorney Gary L. Farha levied the class-three felony charge against Homan.

“Jazzpher Evans, her family and our firm understand the announcement of charges against Steven Homan is just a first step in obtaining the justice Jazzpher deserves as she makes a gallant effort towards a full recovery,” the statement read. “While the news of charges spark hope, we remain relentless in our pursuit that Steven Homan is held fully accountable for his wrongdoing and the trauma he inflicted on Jazzpher.”

The charges against Homan are from a altercation early the morning of April 4 at The Barn a nightclub in Quincy, Illinois. The bar/restaurant is approx. two miles off the campus of Quincy University, where Evans is a freshman bio-chemistry major who also plays on the school’s basketball team. According to the criminal complaint, Homan insulted the teen, placing his arm around her neck and dragged her for about 20 seconds. Evans claims Homan’s “vicious attack” was motivated by race where she suffered a concussion, two black eyes, cuts and bruises on her face.

Saulter described Homan as a hulking 6-foot-5, 250-pound man in an April 7 statement that indicated the bar owner choked Evans and tossed her body outside the nightclub. As of now, it is not clear what led to the altercation between Evans and Homan. The criminal complaint didn’t reveal those details. Quincy Police Department and the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office officials said the incident report will not be available until after the case is resolved.

According to Saulter’s statement, Evans and a white woman classmate were standing near a DJ booth requesting a song when Homan grabbed Evans and slammed her against a wall. Homan threw her to the ground and placed her in a full nelson, choking her until she lost consciousness. He later dragged Evans out of the nightclub unconscious and tossed her on the ground.

Evans says she remained passed out for five minutes and when she came to she had facial wounds and a bloody nose. However, Quincy police and paramedics never rendered aid to her, after she told officers she’d just been attacked. The brutal attack spread quickly and ignited days of anti-racism protests alongside public pressure for investigators to press charges.

“It was decided at that time that rather rush the issue it was prudent to conduct a proper investigation before making an arrest,” the statement read. “The path to justice is rarely short and easy. When circumstances allow, it is always best to conduct a proper and methodical investigation rather than rush to judgment.”

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