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Joliet West's Evans victim of 'hate crime'

Bar owner in Quincy, Illinois brutally assaults college freshman

Jazzpher Evans, a graduate of Joliet West High School and freshman at Quincy University, spoke out Thursday along with her family and attorney after she was brutally attacked in the early morning hours of April 4.

Her alleged attacker was Steven William Homan, the owner of the Barn Nightclub, where Evans and a friend were enjoying a Saturday night out.

Evans tells a story of two college girls, standing near an unoccupied DJ stand when Homan approached her.

"We were just standing there talking," Evans accounted. "Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this man approaching me. He didn't say anything to me, I guess his first instinct was to shove me up against the wall - and that is what he did. He held me there. I didn't know this guy, so I said please don't grab me like that and I put my hand up to defend myself and that is when he began screaming at me. He told me to get the F out of there and he began spitting in my face and I put my hand up over my face and he grabbed that hand and threw me to the ground and was over top of me. "This guy was big - like 6-5 - he grabbed me by my shoulders and wrapped his arm around my throat and began strangling me. His arms were so massive that he couldn't even fit it around my neck and he kept shoving my head down. At that point, I didn't know what was happening. My friend begged him to put me down. She said it was a girl and to put me down and he expressed that he didn't care and he was going to get me out of there, no matter what. I woke up and I was on the ground bleeding and crying."

When Evans gathered herself, she saw police officers in the establishment and went over for help.

"They could visibly see the cuts and abrasions on my face and I told them this guy just attacked me," Evans said. "They didn't offer me any medical attention, they didn't ask for my name or who did it. I tried to express to them who did it and at that point, they were yelling at me to calm down - but at that moment, I didn't know how to calm down because of what just happened. We ended up just leaving because they weren't helping me.

"I am struggling to handle all this right now, but I am glad I can get this story out there because of all the people that have come out and expressed to me and my family that this guy has terrorized them. I want to put an end to all of this. For him to think its OK to attack me, it is hard for me to think of, why does he have that type of hate to where he doesn't think I deserve to live my life and enjoy things I am doing."

The attorney for the Evans family, Keenan J. Saulter of Saulter Law P.C., said in the few days he has been involved in the case, at least a dozen people have come forward - mostly women - and said they had been attacked by Homan as well.

"This is a developing situation, but what we know thus far, is there have been numerous people that have come out to the family and my office to advise us of the problems they have had with this guy, Steve Homan. We have seen videos of him assaulting people and throwing them out of his bar. I am concerned that the Quincy police department is not impartial."

Robert A. Copley, Chief of Police for the Quincy Police Department issued a release April, 7 stating they are "working closely with the Adams County State's Attorney's Office in what is a complex investigation. Officers are watching videos and interviewing multiple witnesses."

Despite that statement, Saulter is not convinced justice will come from local law enforcement.

"I can commit to you is that me and this family are going to get answers - we are going to get accountability. We are going to put pressure on law enforcement and if the Quincy Police Department isn't up to the task, we are going to take it another step," Saulter said. "This man should be behind bars today. We are going to do everything in our power to hold him criminally responsible and civilly responsible. After what we learned about the amount of people he has assaulted, he should not be allowed to run a business. He doesn't respect the basic human rights of individuals, of patrons. He doesn't respect human decency and dignity. Attacking a young woman is never acceptable - attacking anyone is never acceptable. When you outweigh someone by more than 100 pounds and are a foot taller - that is a bully.

"That night, it was just Jazz and her friend, but now Jazz has the entire community of Joliet and Shorewood behind her, she has the entire community of Quincy University behind her, she has her parents and her family, she me and my law firm and we are going to get answers and we are going to get justice."

With several charges reportedly on his record, the questions are mounting.

"We sent our daughter to school - we cultivated her, we gave her love and support and what I heard on the phone was her spirit being broken. There is no excuse at all for a man to put his hands on any body, I don't care what color you are," said Shavon Evans, Jazz' mother. "When you send your children to college, you expect them to be safe. You don't expect them to come home with black eyes and lacerations and neck braces. He has attacked so many women in the city of Quincy - why is he still walking around. No one can get answers from Quincy police as to why this man has so many charges and still can run a business and have a liquor license."

While it is not known specifically if the attack on Jazz Evans was racially motivated, Salter said he believes it was a hate crime, as Evans was with a white friend in the same area of the establishment, yet he said Evans was the target of the assault.

Jazz was not sure if she was the only non-white person in the bar.

"I wasn't walking around looking for other people of color," she said.

It is hopeful, the incident was caught on security cameras, however, Saulter again does not have much confidence those will bear fruit.

"I am stopping short of alleging anything improper on behalf of the Quincy Police Department, but we do have our concerns," he said. "There are cameras pointed in the direction of where this attack occurred, so everything should be caught on video, but you are relying on the individual who is the perpetrator of the attack and also the owner to preserve the video of him committing a violent attack. So, we are concerned that the video doesn't exist."

While the Evans family and Saulter said Quincy University has been supportive throughout the aftermath of the attack, it is unlikely Jazz will return there next season.

"I don't want to send my daughter back into that environment," said Marvin Evans, Jazz' father. "I wouldn't send any kid back there, I wouldn't send any kid of color down there because of the environment. There are a lot of bad actors in every race, but even if they turn good, my daughter will not return to that college. She will go somewhere that shows her love."

Before enrolling at Quincy, Jazz Evans graduated from Joliet West High School magna cum-laude with a 3.8 grade point average and was captain of the Tiger girls basketball team, where she was on the Bugle All-Area Team and was on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 3A/4A third team and Class 4A Associated Press Honorable Mention list.

At Quincy, she help a 3.0 GPA as a biochemistry major and was named to the GLVC All-Freshman team after averaging 11.4 points per game in in 17 games, four of them starts during her first season.


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