Eyewitness recalls violence of Tinley Park restaurant attack

A horde of masked figures stormed the restaurant in a single-file line, wielding bats, claw hammers and metal batons — their presence announced when one shouted, “‘Hey, bitches, the ARA is going to f— up this place.’ ”

With that, the shrouded thugs went on a rampage, clubbing diners at The Ashford House restaurant on May 19 in Tinley Park. They did not discriminate as to the targets of their violence, even pushing an 80-year-old woman to the ground, according to an eyewitness who’s a former Chicago police officer.

“Although the terrorist assault lasted only about a minute, it was the longest minute of my life,” the eyewitness said.

Authorities have said the attackers were targeting a group that believes in white supremacy and calls itself the Illinois European Heritage Association. At least 10 people were hurt during the attack, with three taken to a hospital for treatment.

Five Indiana men who prosecutors say are linked to the Anti-Racist Action Group remain in the Cook County Jail, charged with felony mob action, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. They are John Tucker, 26, of Martinsville, Ind.; Cody Sutherlin, 23, and Alex Stuck, 22, both of Bloomington, Ind.; and Dylan Sutherlin, 20, and Jason Sutherlin, 33, both of Gosport, Ind. Two victims also were arrested on charges unrelated to the attack.

The Anti-Racist Action Group (ARA) is a “radical left-wing group” that often resorts to violent acts, said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization based in Montgomery, Ala. The attack, he said, “did more harm to the cause of fighting racism than almost anyone can imagine.”

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