Evanston officials announced Wednesday afternoon that three Streetplus employees on the city’s “Clean Team” have been fired and another suspended without pay after they beat a vagrant in Fountain Square last month.

In the Feb. 13 incident the employees hired by the city contractor to do cleanup work in city business districts drove into the square in a pickup truck as the vagrant appeared to be urinating on a utility box in the square.

A brief confrontation then turned into a brawl that saw the workers beating the vagrant in the center of Orrington Avenue.

The city announcement says all current and future Streetplus employees in Evanston will be required to participate in enhanced training.

That training, normally provided to Streetplus social service outreach and security services staff, includes anger management, safety through tactical thinking and strategies for communicating and interacting with the unsheltered, unhoused and mentally ill.

Streetplus President Steve Hillard issued a letter outlining the company’s action plan and has reiterated the company’s commitment to being a positive presence in Evanston business districts while providing the cleaning and maintenance services the company was contracted to perform.

The city, which suspended the Clean Team program following the incident, says the program will resume next Monday.

Streetplus will recruit new team members to replace the terminated employees and city officials say they will monitor the company’s performance closely and will consider future contract renewals accordingly.

Evanston police interviewed witnesses and participants and reviewed video of the Feb. 13 incident.

Police say that ultimately all those involved did not wish to pursue criminal charges. No arrests were made and the investigation has been closed.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. “…the social workers from Streetwise…”

    Oops, I meant to write “…the social workers from Connections for the Homeless”…

    Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

  2. It’s a shame that four men are out of a job over this incident. They were doing a job that not many would want to do. And is there any punishment for the vagrant who was urinating on the utility box? He should have been arrested for urinating in public. And since he can’t afford to pay a fine, he should have been given a bucket of soapy water and a mop to clean up all of the places that he and his friend piss on in our public spaces. Teach the guy a lesson and make an example of him. He should be held to the same standards as the rest of us. As for the four men who were fired/suspended without pay, they should be retrained, including anger management and given a second chance.

    1. The fired Clean Team members got a raw deal and are a casualty to Progressive ideology within our local government. Upper middle-class cultural standards and ‘values’ are being used to judge the actions of the Clean Team crew. I don’t know the specifics, but I would speculate that within a strong job market, those willingly undertaking the job of cleaning public filth such as Clean Team employees probably have a background making a strong claim to ‘Marginalized’ status themselves, along with the vagrant that they clashed with. Even IF these Clean Team members were former so-called ‘thugs’ or gang members, the facts are that they had accepted the most humble of honest jobs and were diligently trying to perform that job. Per the video footage they gave the aggressive vagrant a good amount of patience before they finally took the bait and snapped, regressing to the law of the streets (or law of the schoolyard) and gave a physical response to physical and verbal aggression from the defiant and incorrigible public urinator vagrant. The Clean Team crew deserved another chance at continued employment after some social-emotional training and a warning; and this would be in the best interest of society, lest these young people become soured on the effort and risk to work a low-paying regular job instead of pursuing a life of illegal work.

      1. Raw Deal: you nailed it with your comments….sadly.

        I’m sure this decision was driven solely by what will appear to be the right thing vs the real right thing to do.

        I’m afraid your assessment is accurate about those fired and their future is likely in jeopardy, thanks to those who made this decision.

  3. Welcome back Clean Team!! Their absence has resulted in our city again falling into decay and disorder.

    Since their approach didn’t work, how does the city prevent vagrants from urinating and defecating in public, as well as trespassing, harassing and creating a dangerous living situation for all of us? The influx of new vagrants is ramping up as our weather improves. It’s going to be a tough summer.

  4. I guess the “enhanced training” must just mean learning how to take it from people who piss all over downtown Evanston. In others, start acting like regular Evanstonians.

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