While a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, Bobby Simmons pursued two alleged members of the deadly Hobos gang through the streets of Chicago in June 2006 — including Lake Shore Drive — blowing red lights and refusing to give up the chase even after they shot at him at least 15 times.
That’s according to Simmons’ own grand jury testimony, read in a federal courtroom Monday in front of Simmons and six alleged Hobos leaders, including the two men Simmons allegedly followed that night. The feds say Paris “Poleroski” Poe stole a $200,000 white gold and diamond necklace from Simmons, and Arnold “Armstrong” Council helped Poe get away.
As wild as that night may have been, Simmons claimed to have forgotten nearly everything about it when he took the witness stand last week during the Hobos’ racketeering trial at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp gave lawyers the weekend to decide how to handle his testimony.
In the end, the former NBA player’s second appearance at the trial lasted less than 15 minutes. Dressed all in black, Simmons listened from the witness stand Monday as a pair of federal agents read Simmons’ March 2013 grand jury testimony to the trial jury, describing the following events:
Simmons went to Ice Bar on June 10, 2006, near Clark and Chicago Avenue, but he decided to leave the club early so he could celebrate his birthday the next day. While he was crossing the street, someone cut him off, pointed a gun at him and told him, “don’t run.”
“I have identified this person as Paris Poe,” Simmons told the grand jury.
Poe pulled twice on Simmons’ necklace, which featured a diamond pendant, and Poe ran when it popped off Simmons’ neck. Simmons said he jumped into a truck with two other people, spotted a Dodge Magnum heading the wrong way on a one-way street and followed it while trying unsuccessfully to call the police.
Simmons said he chased the Magnum — driven by Council — through red lights and only fell back when he saw Poe lean out of a window and fire a gun at least seven times, hitting Simmons’ car. But Simmons said he continued to chase the Magnum, trying to get its license plate.
At one point, Simmons said Council hit the brakes, and Simmons’ truck slammed into the Magnum. Simmons also said the chase led out onto Lake Shore Drive, until they exited near 22nd or 23rd streets. The chase then led to the Harold Ickes homes, where Poe fired at Simmons’ car at least eight more times and got out of the car to run away.
Simmons continued to chase the Magnum until he and Council crashed near 60th Street — leaving Simmons with a scar on his chin. Afterward, Simmons said he got into an “altercation” with Council. The feds have said Simmons held Council at the scene until police arrived.
Simmons also told the grand jury he picked Poe and Council out of a lineup.
Poe and Council are alleged leaders of a gang described as a “conglomerate” and “an all-star team of the worst of the worst” of Chicago’s street gangs. Its members have been tied to nine murders. Poe allegedly executed two informants who snitched on the Hobos to the Chicago Police Department and the FBI.
Simmons, a former Simeon High School and DePaul University forward, has previously been reluctant to testify against the Hobos, according to prosecutors. The feds say it took a significant effort by the FBI to serve him with a subpoena this time. When he took the stand last week, he said he didn’t remember much about the robbery. And at one point, he said he didn’t even remember testifying before the grand jury.
“It’s kinda hard,” Simmons said last week, muttering softly into a microphone. “I can’t remember everything that happened. It was so long ago.”