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Illinois Woman Faces Hate Crime Charges Following Unprovoked Attack of Black Woman Exiting Banquet Hall

An Illinois woman found herself in police custody last week after physically attacking a Black woman outside a crowded banquet hall and yelling racial slurs, authorities said.

Sarah Benain, 25, faces a hate crime and aggravated assault charge in the incident that unfolded at DiNolfo’s Banquets in Homer Glen, Illinois, on Saturday. According to Will County’s Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer, an off-duty deputy responded to reports of a fight outside the building to find an unruly Benain pummeling the victim.

Sarah Benain
Sarah Benain (left) is charged with a hate crime, assault and disorderly conduct on suspicion of randomly attacking an African-American woman and shouting racial slurs outside a banquet hall in suburban Chicago last week. Her companion, Lukasz Harnik, (right) has been charged with hindering her arrest. (Photos: Wall County Sheriff’s Office)

Police said the suspect had her legs wrapped around the other woman’s body during the attack and “continued to scream the N-word” while punching her.

“Benain was out of control,” said Hoffmeyer, adding, “She continually yelled racial slurs at the deputies while they were attempting to get control of the situation.”

The 27-year-old victim later told deputies she didn’t know what set Benain off, or why she was attacked. She said she was leaving the suburban Chicago banquet hall with her boyfriend when the suspect rushed over and proceeded to assault her while using the N-word.

Things got so out of hand that the responding deputy had to request backup. Benain resisted arrest several times, the sheriff’s office said, and punched a deputy before trying to make a run for it. Officials said she also kicked another deputy and repeatedly used racial slurs as police tried to restrain her. That’s when one of the deputies deployed his Taser, Hoffmeyer said.

The victim, who’s unnamed, suffered minor injuries in the assault and was treated at a local hospital.

Meanwhile, Benain’s boyfriend, 25-year-old Lukasz Harnik, was also arrested for trying to interfere with his lover’s arrest. Authorities said Harnik refused deputies’ commands to stay back and resisted handcuffs before police managed to arrest him.

Both were booked into the Will County Adult Detention Facility on several charges including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and multiple counts of battery on a law enforcement officer.

According to online jail records, Benain was arraigned Monday and has since been released from jail.

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