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River Forest man charged with hate crime for altercation in Jewel-Osco parking lot

A viral video allegedly shows Robert Palley try and grab an African American woman’s phone, leading to a struggle.

A man was found guilty of kidnapping a mall security guard and robbing phone stores Nov. 1, 2016 in suburban West Dundee.
A River Forest man was charged with a hate crime for a June 3, 2020, incident at a Jewel-Osco parking lot.
Adobe Stock Photo

A River Forest man is facing felony charges after a video went viral Wednesday allegedly showing him in an altercation with an African American woman at a Jewel-Osco parking lot in the west suburb.

Robert Palley, 61, was charged with a hate crime and aggravated battery in a public place, River Forest officials said.

In a video posted to Twitter, the woman says Palley berated her as she bought Starbucks. She began filming him and followed him out into the Jewel-Osco parking lot, 7525 W. Lake St., demanding an explanation.

After about 25 seconds, Palley reaches out and appears to try and grab the phone from her hand, starting a physical altercation. The phone drops to the ground but frantic shouts can still be heard, and two figures are briefly seen engaged in a struggle.

Multiple witnesses corroborated the woman’s account, village officials said, and investigators reviewed Jewel-Osco security footage before filing the charges.

“We have no tolerance for hate in River Forest,” said River Forest Village President Cathy Adduci. “We appreciate and support the thorough work of our River Forest Police Department as well as the cooperation of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to hold those who engage in criminal activity that is motivated by hate fully accountable. And, we applaud the witnesses that helped the investigators determine the facts in this case so that felony charges could be brought against this individual. Finally, we’re pleased that officials from Jewel-Osco cooperated immediately by providing video footage, which helped us move forward quickly on this case.”

Palley appeared in court Thursday and was released on an “I-bond,” meaning he went free without paying any cash. He is due back in court July 8.