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Tinley Park man charged after yelling racial slurs at man working next door, prosecutors say

A white Tinley Park man is facing felony hate crime charges for attacking and yelling racial slurs at a black man who was working near his home, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Bail was set at $25,000 Tuesday for Joseph Berndt, 47, of Tinley Park, who appeared at the Bridgeview courthouse.

According to prosecutors, the victim was hired by a bank to clean up a residence that was in foreclosure in the 6200 block of West 179th Street that bordered the defendant’s home.

On Sunday, while the 51-year-old victim was working on the property, Berndt began yelling racial slurs and accused the victim of burglarizing the property, according to prosecutors.

When the victim explained he was permitted to be there, Berndt came on the property and threw a beer can and a brick at him, prosecutors said. The victim fled behind a gate and leaned against it to try to keep the defendant away from him. While trying to keep it shut, Berndt tried to hit the victim with a metal pipe by swinging it over the fence, according to prosecutors.

The victim then tried to flee but was chased by the defendant, who continued swinging the pipe.

When the victim fell during the chase, Berndt jumped on top of him, began choking him and threatened to kill him, prosecutors said.

The victim managed to break free and called the police.

Berndt is next due in court Sept. 17.



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