SKOKIE, Ill. — A man has been charged with a hate crime after a confrontation with pro-Palestinian protestors at an Israeli rally in Skokie over the weekend.
Zevulen Ebert, 33, faces two felony counts of aggravated battery and two felony counts of hate crime charges. He appeared for a pre-trial hearing Wednesday and was ultimately released until his next scheduled court appearance.
Hal Garfinkle, an attorney for Ebert, told WGN News that the State’s Attorney’s Office’s decision to not petition for detention was telling.
“If the State’s Attorney’s office did not feel confident in court today to seek to detain my client under the burden of clear and convincing evidence, that tells me their ability to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt will be a significant hurdle for the government to overcome,” he said.
According to the Skokie Police Department, Ebert was arrested in relation to the pepper spray incident at the private Solidarity with Israel event on the 3400 block of West Touhy Avenue on Sunday. He is believed to have targeted pro-Palestinian protestors.
Around 1,000 people had gathered to show solidarity with Israel at Ateres Ayala, which is a banquet hall, according to event organizers.
Attendees told WGN-TV that a counter rally was then organized for the same time, in the same area by Palestinian supporters.
Skokie police say during the protest, several disturbances broke out, resulting in a Chicago police officer and two citizens sustaining minor injuries after being pepper sprayed by Ebert amid the commotion.
Eventgoers inside Ateres Ayala told WGN-TV that an announcement was made during the rally warning those in attendance not to leave as tensions were rising outside.
Ebert is next due in court on Nov. 6