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Chance the Rapper’s bodyguard sued for allegedly attacking guest at W Hotel

A screenshot of surveillance footage that appears to show Chance the Rapper's bodyguard Star Thomas holding Travis Montgomery against a wall in the lobby of the W Hotel. | Tomasik Kotin Kasserman law firm

Two days before Chance the Rapper played a headlining set at Lollapalooza in 2017, his security guard attacked a guest during a related event at the W Hotel on the Near North Side, according to a civil lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that Star Thomas carried out the “needless, unprovoked, and violent attack.” Chance the Rapper, whose real name Chancelor Bennett, is not a defendant in the suit.

On the night of Aug. 3, officers responded to the hotel at 644 N. Lake Shore Drive when a 30-year-old man reported that he had been grabbed by Thomas and dragged around a room, according to Chicago police. The man — identified in the suit as Travis Montgomery, of Los Angeles — had suffered bruising to his neck and the side of his face during the alleged attack, police said.

Thomas was then taken into custody and later charged with misdemeanor battery, police said. The charge was dropped the following month when Montgomery failed to show up at a court hearing, court records show.

Star Thomas | Chicago police
Star Thomas | Chicago police

According to the suit, Montgomery first ran into Thomas, Chance the Rapper and other member’s of the star’s entourage when he tried to hop onto an elevator on the hotel’s 27th floor. While the elevator wasn’t full, Thomas and other security guards stopped Montgomery from getting on, “ostensibly because Chance the Rapper” was on board, the suit claims.

After taking another elevator down to the hotel’s lobby, Montgomery had another interaction with Thomas that was captured on hotel surveillance video, the suit claims. As Montgomery turned a corner and tried to walk past Chance the Rapper’s entourage, Thomas allegedly grabbed Montgomery by the shirt and pulled him back toward him.

After they exchanged words, Thomas grabbed Montgomery by the neck and pushed him across the room, according to the suit. Thomas then slammed Montgomery into a wall, holding him by the neck before dragging him through the hotel lobby and slamming him again, the suit claims.

Thomas — who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs about 300 pounds — is about 6 inches taller and 140 pounds heavier than Montgomery, according to the suit.

“This was an unprovoked, vicious attack that came without reason or warning,” Montgomery’s attorney, Tim Tomasik, said in a statement. “Tyler was simply a hotel guest walking through the lobby, not posing a threat or even interacting with Chance the Rapper.”

The lawsuit accuses Thomas of assault and battery and charges the security company that employed him and the hotel’s director of operations with negligence.

Additionally, the suit alleges that Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International and CHSP Lakeshore — the companies that owned, operated, maintained or controlled the hotel — acted negligently.

Thomas is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, according to the suit.

A spokesman for Chance the Rapper wasn’t immediately available for comment.