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City employee charged with hate crime against his coworker at O'Hare

July 11, 2013|By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas | RedEye

A man who works for the city at O'Hare was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with battery and a hate crime after he allegedly shouted homophobic slurs at one of his coworkers and then struck the man in the head and pushed him into a set of employee lockers.

Barney Lonzo, 57, of the 4900 block of West Hirsch Street, appeared at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse on Thursday afternoon and was held on $100,000 bond.

The incident occurred at the airport on June 23, according to court records. Lonzo allegedly yelled homophobic words at the fellow O'Hare employee, who prosecutors said is openly gay, and then hit the bill of the hat he was wearing three times until the man fell backwards in his chair and his hat flew off his head. Then Lonzo allegedly shoved him into a set of lockers.

Lonzo's defense attorney said he has worked for the city for over twenty years.

The hate crime charge comes days after an Austin man was charged with a hate crime after allegedly beating two women while shouting slurs about their sexuality on the West Side.

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