Monday, June 05, 2017

Race-Fueled Allegations Have Boystown Cop, Security Firm Owner Fighting 60-Day Suspension And Lawsuit

This is Part Two of a three-part series on the relationship between policing and private security patrols in Wrigleyville and Boystown. See Part One HERE.  Part Three HERE.  And Sidebar HERE.

A local cop whose side business provides security for the Center on Halsted and private patrols to Boystown’s bar strip is fighting a 60-day suspension from the Chicago Police Department after he allegedly tossed a black bouncer to the floor of a Boystown bar amid a torrent of racial epithets, according to city records.

The allegations against 19th District community policing officer Thomas J. Walsh were sustained after a 15-month investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), records show. Only a claim that Walsh was drunk at the time was not sustained, IPRA said.
Excerpt from conclusions reached by the city's 15-month investigation of the incident | IPRA
And a civil case against Walsh—alleging hate crime, battery and more—continues to wind its way through the system, with parties due back in court on Friday.

The allegations against Walsh were discovered by CWBChicago editors as we developed a story about private security services in Lakeview. We reviewed more than 450 pages of documents from the Chicago Police Department, IPRA, and the Cook County Court Clerk for this report.

November 29, 2013  

On the day after Thanksgiving 2013, Walsh and some friends went to dinner at a West Town Italian restaurant and split a bottle of wine, he would later tell IPRA investigator William Abbruzzese.

Around 9:30 p.m., Walsh headed to the Lucky Horseshoe, a bar at 3169 North Halsted in Boystown, where he had been friends with management for some 15 years.

He bellied up to the back bar with Tim Mitchell, a politically-connected man who was ex-CEO of the Chicago Park District and a long-time aide to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

A few minutes later, James Matthews, then 48-years-old, walked through the bar’s front door. He was reporting for his first shift as a security officer there.

Matthews was met by his supervisor who walked him through the bar, showing him the layout and introducing him to staff members.

As the two guards reached the back bar, they noticed a dust-up between some patrons.

“They were in each other’s faces,” the supervisor later told investigators, “and I noticed one of the gentlemen involved was Tom Walsh.”

A local barfly had been thrown to the ground after calling Walsh’s friend—Mitchell—a “fat fuck.” Walsh said he was trying to break up the fight when security arrived.

The security supervisor—knowing Walsh to be an off-duty cop who privately patrols Halsted Street—"felt it’d be best if [Walsh] knew the new guy [Matthews],” so he introduced them. They shook hands and Matthews assumed his post at the rear entrance.

A few minutes later, Matthews saw another incident in the back bar.

Walsh was “punchin’ ‘nother patron in the face. I separate them and…Mr. Walsh attacked me and knocked me down on my right side,” Matthews later told investigators.

“[Walsh] started yellin’ racial slurs at me while I was on the ground and... almost half the bar had to hold ‘em back because I think he would’ve continued to attack me if they had not stopped him while I was on the ground,” Matthews told IPRA.

Matthews' supervisor didn’t see what caused his new guard to fall, but "Lo and behold, he’s on the floor, and Mr. Walsh is standing above him screaming — insane,” the supervisor recalled in an IPRA report. “He repeatedly called him the ’N’ word, a — a nigger.”

“Mr. Walsh… comes charging, almost as if to finish him off. I’m helping [Matthews] stand up. And a bunch of [Walsh’s| friends grab him, and he’s just raving and, you know, telling [the injured guard] what he thinks of him and all that good stuff.”

Saying the incident seemed like a scene from The Jerry Springer Show, the supervisor said Walsh "looked directly at me and spoke directly to me and said ‘get that fucking nigger away from me.’”

A bartender also told IPRA that Walsh was involved in a fist fight. He even stepped away from his post “to get somebody to help—to break them up or to calm them down,” he said.

The bartender, whose name is redacted in IPRA’s report, said Matthews seemed to grab Walsh by the shoulders to pull him back from the confrontation.

“It happened so quick and [the new guard] was on the ground….He just was like ‘my back…or my shoulders and my back.'”

Investigators heard a different story from Walsh: The intoxicated patron who had called his friend a name minutes earlier started hitting Walsh in the chest, the officer recalled.

“That’s when I get up and I said—I didn’t strike ‘em or anything—I said keep your hands off me. I said that hurts,” Walsh recalled.

“And with that, someone comes from behind me. They put their arm around my neck,” Walsh said. “I just turned with my body…and shrugged him off. Whoever it was. Never put my hands on ‘em. Never pushed ‘em.”

The person Walsh says he shrugged off was the guard—Matthews—who was about four inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than Walsh, according to IPRA case files.

“...and then you know the guy’s layin’ on the ground. And I said what the fuck are you puttin’ your hands on me? And I… did call ‘em a nigger which I regret,” Walsh told investigators.

Three days after Walsh met with IPRA’s Abbruzzese, the men returned to the agency’s offices on Chicago Avenue. Walsh wanted to make some clarifications.
Transcript of a portion of Walsh's clarification meeting with IPRA. | IPRA
“I just wanted to emphasize that while I used very poor choice of profanity,” Walsh said, “it was not meant as a racial slur. I just wanted to reiterate that.”

Walsh went on to say that he referred to a white man as “nigger” during the episode, too. “It was just not meant to be a racial slur.”

“I wanted to clarify that my conduct was not influenced by the alcohol… I was not intoxicated. I did not start either event and I was assaulted from the rear by an unidentified individual.”

IPRA’s Abbruzzese later wrote that “Officer Walsh’s attempted justification of his use of profanity and racially derogatory language is not only egregious but blatantly fictitious.”

Two of Walsh’s acquaintances also spoke with IPRA investigators about the incident. Both stated that Matthews put Walsh in a “chokehold.”

Neither man could recall seeing Matthews on the floor nor did they remember Walsh verbally abusing him as he lay on the ground. One recalled Walsh using the N-word.

Mitchell, the former parks CEO who was the target of the drunk’s insults, died in December 2014.

IPRA Findings

Walsh, as seen in an IPRA photo line-up. | IPRA
All told, IPRA investigators spent 15 months looking into Matthews’ allegations.

On March 18, 2015, the agency sustained three of the four charges against Walsh.

Walsh had “engaged in an unjustified physical altercation when he pushed [Matthews] to the floor, causing an injury to his right shoulder,” investigator Abbruzzese wrote.

Walsh had also violated department rules “when he stated words to the effect of ‘Fucking nigger. Don’t you ever put your fucking hands on me,’ ‘Who the fuck do you think you are, you fucking nigger,’ and ‘Get that fucking nigger away from me,’” IPRA’s findings said.

The agency also sustained an allegation that Walsh’s actions at the Horseshoe brought discredit upon the department.

Only an allegation that Walsh was intoxicated at the time of the incident was not sustained, meaning that investigators found insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the claim.

IPRA recommended a 20-day suspension for Walsh, but then-Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s office had a different idea.

After reviewing IPRA's report. McCarthy's office tripled Walsh's suspension to 60 days, city records show.

Walsh immediately exercised his contractual right to file a grievance and the matter is now working its way though that often years-long process.

IPRA sustained 3 of 4 allegations against Walsh. An accusation that Walsh was intoxicated during the incident was not sustained. | IPRA

Civil Suit

Meanwhile, Matthews sued Walsh, the Lucky Horseshoe Lounge, and the City of Chicago, seeking an unspecified sum exceeding $75,000.

The suit accuses Walsh of a hate crime, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Matthews claims he has not been able to work as a security officer since the night of the incident due to a torn rotator cuff and severe pain.

Depositions in the suit began late last year, and the case is scheduled for trial in early 2018.

Mum's The Word

In preparing our report, CWBChicago editors asked Center on Halsted CEO Modesto “Tico” Valle for comment on this story. The Center pays Walsh's security firm over $130,000 a year for guard services.

Valle stated that someone told him the case is still under investigation and “there is nothing to comment on.”

Valle did not respond when we informed him that IPRA concluded its investigation two years ago.

We also contacted the Northalsted Business Alliance, which pays Walsh’s private security firm for foot patrols on Halsted Street. Neither Executive Director Chad Honeycutt nor Director of Operations Eric Santiago replied to multiple emails seeking comment.

Walsh declined to comment for this report.
Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube


  1. Wow. You can't make this stuff up. Of course the prince thinks he can get away with doing whatever he wants whenever he wants because he sort of can. This corrupt city breeds corrupt greedy above the law types everywhere.

  2. Really classy and officer friendly hanging out at the local strip bar Really classy a local police officer in the community and runs the private security in same district he works in And represents the department and countless hardworking officers working the midnight shift on halsted and he flaunts his power and lack of respect for the oath of his position profiting from center on halsted which has killed this community and then publically tells there is no crime at COH and no one arrested for last couple years claims to reside there. Like a used car salesman anything that comes out of his mouth is suspect but he is rewarded with job at work so he can leisurely run his Profitable security business out of on tax payer dime

  3. I've seen Walsh and his buds apparently totally wasted on Halsted while supposedly "protecting the streets." Someone might also look into that little group's drinking behind businesses along Halsted. Think there was some crack smoking worked in there as well. Everybody along Halsted knows all about this bullshit operation.

    1. You sir are a complete smoking crack and drinking behind business LMAO are you serious DUCHE BAG with this bullshit ????? LEts see the pictures and camara footage...WOW SMH seriously you TOOL smoking "CRACK" and "DRINKING" in alleys WOW / LMAO maybe the lil scum bag thugs that are trying to destroy Boystown with their illegal activities of stabbing,shooting,tazing ,robbing, stealing and fighting are doing that but NOT the Halsted Security guys........These guys are making a difference out there... I own a BAR on Halsted and thelarge groups that lurk the streets makes it a real shit show out there and CPD does nothing about it, the THUGS have almost completely taken over BOYSTOWN /NORTH HALSTED.... We stand behind TOM WALSH and the guys of Halsted Security they are a great bunch of guys.........We call 911 and it takes CPD for ever to respond we call Halsted Security and they are right there to help us, without the Halsted Security guys out there we would be in real trouble they are good people with a hard thankless job...... DO a report on the Scum bag THUGS and the Corrupt Center on Halsted not the guys making a difference and making us safe you clowns !!!!

    2. You own a bar? Wow from your post you are just thug too. Bar owners and the thugs are all trash. Ruining our neighborhood. I think you are on crack.

    3. Work on your spelling and grammar, unless you were going for a language other than English with this comment.

    4. Tom Walsh is not a good person. I worked in Wrigleyville for years. He's corrupting the businesses by MAKING them hire his private security. At least that's what he did to my old boss (who was black). My boss did it because tom walsh told him he would otherwise be harassed by the police. And just a fun fact everyone!!! TW might have "a wife and kids" but he's totally GAY! He likes younger men. I have seen him come into my work numerous times for dinner with many different young men who was "more than a friend". I'm glad this is catching up with this man! #corrupt

  4. What neighborhood did this jagoff Walsh grow up in? What an embarrassment to the CPD.

    1. I cant think of alot more embarrassing officer's on Cpd like the ghetto ones and the Ukrainian ones that barley speak english. Or the Transgender Cop whom fights his own Officers. Walsh is a good guy,so he got caught up in a incident at a bar drunk or not, Im sure most of us have at least once or done something we regret. At least he didn't shoot some thug 16 times. WALSH has done more good then bad get over it !!!

    2. He's still an a=hole cop who thinks he is above the law and can do what he wants and treat people how he wants and get away with it.

    3. Anonymous Jun 5, 2017, 11:10:00 PM says
      I cant think of alot more embarrassing officer's....
      Nice job there setting such a high hurdle "...done more good than bad..."
      Try that one for yourself the next time you're interviewing a dentist or a driving instructor, or better yet, a brain surgeon.
      Yet another Chicago low-expectations goof.

  5. This officer is a community policing officer - not just an officer but a community policing officer! Ha ha ha!!! This is how he relates to the "community". You really can't make this up.

    Buslik, this is becoming your mess now.

    1. 98% sounds made up too me like most reports !!!!

  6. The BARR neighbors are paying his company approx $200k of our own money for the private security detail. Neighbors from Belmont, Ashland, Roscoe,Racine. I like the security, but this is an eye opener. We definitely need the security but there's got to be a better way.Bet majority of my neighbors have no idea the real details our our security firm. And yes we were told they are all off-duty cops. I wouldn't mind as much if they had been truthful from the beginning about their operation but now we know why they weren't. This will be an interesting discussion at our next neighborhood meeting.

    1. All the ones that patrol the BARR area are current police or retired and are registered with the IDPR. And we came nowhere close to raising 200k. The neighborhood communicates with them while on duty and have an amazing rapport with all the officers. They are keeping the 2am drunks and drifters out of our garages, the thieves out of our houses and the rapists away too. They have identified 3 problem houses where drug sales openly occur and neighbors are working with landlords to evict. This is exactly the model that is supposed to happen. Obviously we wish the on duty police would be this proactive...

  7. Wow, I can't believe what I just read. I've been knowning Walsh for a few years now and I work at one of the business where he visits and I have to say he has been very respectful to me, but I guess after what happened he has to be nice to people. I do have to say I have seen him drive his wife, friends, and other people in his Chicago Police vehicle, I am pretty sure he can't do that but yet he does it. As for his officers, good and bad things about them. I once remember I told one of his officers about a fight, he ignored me at first and slowly walked over by the time he go there (10 mins later) every body was gone. There are times where the security officers come knocking on the doors and asking us if everything is ok and on the streets officers usually greet me and are always on the look out, however I once witness an officer tell someone " you better not come here" while grabbing his gun, yes, I have seen them wear the CPD vests and Walsh too, just two weeks ago I saw him with the CPD uniform but also wearing the green vest which made me wonder is he off duty, or what???

    1. And then the way you people grossly over serve those patrons and set 'em loose. That's why I could no longer go to those bars. We're not accustomed to that where I'm from. It's NOT "entertaining" - at all.

  8. Seriously, you can't make this shit up!

  9. At least they chose a good photo of TW.

  10. So the question is.. as he is obviously "clouted" and therefore immune - who is his "sponsor"?

    It's funny/sad/strange... after reading Second City Cop for around 10 years now, it seems nearly every loose cannon cop that's made the news (from the asshole who beat up the female bartender years ago to, oh... I guess Walsh) has been a clouted individual. Yay, Chicago politics! Keep pulling that "D" lever!

  11. Got news for you idiots...he's one of yours

  12. He grew up in Lakeview raised by other officers.

  13. Seems like a lot of Walshes soaking up taxpayer money. Wonder if they are all family ? No that wouldnt happen in Chicago.

  14. So the guy with wife and kids is constantly hanging around and getting drunk late at night in boystown.


  15. Tom Walsh is a good person and good police officer. This seems like someone is trying to bad mouth him in order to take over security in Lakeview. The businesses pay his company and he pays those security guards, it's not like he's raking in the dough. Also, the guy is a very hard worker, he is always out there, either as CPD or supervising his guys.
    It's possible he got into a fight with some drunk abusive asshole but that doesn't take away all the good he does for that community.
    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I guess that's not the case for cops, it's guilty first, ruin their lives, treat them like crap, and when the truth comes out... no apology or retraction in the media. Unbelievable.
    Let the man have his day in court. I'll be very interested to see what other company steps in to take control if Walsh Security is ousted.

    1. Yeah, I somewhat agree. I worked for many years, north of Roscoe on Halsted. Tom was always visible, we all had his business card and cell number to use when we needed. He put the security team together, and they would stop by late night, and initial the check-in sheet posted at the door or with the doorman. He personally knew staff at all the bars, so he was comfortable hanging out with his possee sometimes. I never questioned his personal life, it wasn't an issue.

      I never heard about the Horseshoe issue, and I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I never saw him out of control. It was good to know that he took enough interest in the neighborhood to stay visible. Concerning Walsh Security and his staff, why shouldn't they display a "command presence"? I doubt much of the security staff at the businesses up and down Halsted carry a PERC card, or are licensed by the state either. I'm not sure what this 3-part report hopes to achieve, but it's not going to put more cops on foot, late night. As one post mentioned, if some of the businesses took responsibility for their patrons, some of the problems might be averted. But I don't see that happening either.

    2. "I'm not sure what this 3-part report hopes to achieve, but it's not going to put more cops on foot, late night."

      Well, maybe it will help get fake cops and convicted felons off of the street late at night. That would be nice.

    3. I'm at a loss of words. I didn't realize this blog was going to turn into so much gossip. If I wanted to read gossip, I'd subscribe to Cosmopolitan. The underlining issue is not those who patrol our streets, it's the scum bags that come to our neighborhood, loiter, fight, deal drugs, and cause problems. If ANY of you think you can do a better job, I invite you all to form a security company, pass the exams, hire a staff with ABSOLUTELY NO CRIMINAL BACKGROUND (since it's clear anyone with something as small as a traffic violation is not fit to protect others), put in a bid to the Halsted Business Alliance and protect the citizens of our community for $15-20 an hour. Go face-to-face with the people who bring guns, knives, hammers, and tasers into our community. Make a difference. Protect citizens and then come home and read a blog like this as your thank you. Personally attacking someone on a blog isn't helping. Next time any of you bashing Walsh and his security company need help, call 911 and make sure you tell them you only want "REAL" police and that Walsh and his guys are not welcome to respond. Then you can sit there and wait for the call to come out and when you're waiting for someone to show up and they don't, you'll regret the things you said. Those security officers are out there helping protect our neighborhood from Southside thugs and if they weren't there you would have A LOT more incidents to report on here...

    4. Gosh. You're fired up. You act as if Walsh Security is the only security firm in Illinois. There are many firms that properly screen its employees, ensure that they are licensed, and that they don't pretend to be police officers when they are far from it.

      It's not asking too much for a security company to operate in accordance with the law.

    5. I'm confused with the "day in court" comments. Walsh had 18 months of days in court and then a judgement was made. There is also a disconnect on the issues of racism in CPD and Walsh's actions. There was a reason his suspension was tripled by leadership. I would love to know what Chief Johnson thinks about it.

    6. Anonymous Jun 6, 2017, 1:48:00 PM says:
      I'm at a loss of words...
      Obviously you aren't. But maybe you should be.
      The ONLY real question people around here are asking us this...How come the problems at Walsh Security don't get addressed?
      We think we deserve better.

    7. And AGAIN, the drug dealing! Supply and demand! Supply and demand! Supply and demand!

  16. I wonder if he has any significant amount of influence at the CPD. If so, the implications are disturbing.

  17. We need a private security patrol to protect us from the private security patrol.

    1. This is the pithiest and wittiest comment on here

  18. Officer Walsh has done more good for the Lakeview community than any other community police officer. He often give his last dime to the underprivileged and would go that extra mile to help out youths and the business community. When is the last time anyone walked down Halsted after midnight and seen the masses that come to Lakeview looking for trouble? There have been other security firms that worked Halsted and yet they did nothing. Walsh has taken responsibility for his actions and obviously will pay the consequence. Why continue to bash someone to the point of destroying him completely? Really? Anyone that knows how hard he works and the relationships that he grows organically, (not by "clout") understands that he is with good intentions. Unfortunately, there has been some mistakes made, but he will answer to them.

  19. What a tangled web we weave,
    When at first we seek to deceive.

    "What goes around ... ALWAYS comes back around!"

  20. Its really not surprising. Any Police office wont work for less the 30-35 dollars per hour. Anything more then that is good. We are not allowed to work at liquor establishments. After taxes its not worth the risk, especially in a neighborhood where something is more likely to happen. So what happens? People hire others at a lower rate that are not off duty officers. The more more he saves on payroll, the more that goes in his pocket. The issue with a lot of security firms is management. Management doesn't work the shifts. They only make schedules and write checks, including their own. If you want a professional then the management has to be an example. Drinking or eating at a place on your patrol probably isn't a good idea. You get what you pay for. Free food and drinks should not be accepted. Not even discounts should be accepted. I'm sure lots of officers will disagree but its really not professional. CWB is really being getting into the news game. Keep up the great reporting.

    1. Yes. CWB. Investigative reporting. It's what journalists used to do. You guys are the real thing! Thank you!

  21. If you ask people personally in this community you will hear amazing things about tom Walsh. This is clearly the same person trying to get other who may not know him personally to think otherwise.

    1. The IPRA investigation was not about whether or not Tom Walsh is a nice guy.