The Margarita Inn, 1566 Oak Ave. (Google Maps image)

A resident of the Margarita Inn has been charged with aggravated battery to a police officer after allegedly punching the officer in the face.

Evanston Police Sgt. Ken Carter says the man, 32-year-old Daymeon C. Shelby, initially called police to complain about a fight he said he’d been in with another man at the homeless shelter at 1566 Oak Ave.

Two officers responded to the shelter about 6:25 p.m. Tuesday and spoke with Shelby.

Daymeon Shelby (CCSO photo)

During the conversation, Carter says, Shelby became aggressive toward the officers and tried to flee from them.

As the officers gave chase, Carter says, Shelby turned around and struck one of the officers in the face with his fist.

In response, Carter says, the second officer used his Taser to subdue Shelby.

Evanston Fire Department paramedics were called, and Shelby was transported to Evanston Hospital where he was treated and released into police custody.

Carter says officers also spoke with Jacob Pure, the service manager at the Margarita, who said he’d found Shelby masturbating in the building’s kitchen and had asked him to stop because there were children present.

Carter says Pure told the officers that Shelby then struck him in the face, leaving him with bruises. Pure declined medical treatment. Shelby faces a misdemeanor battery charge related to that incident.

Connections for the Homeless, which operates the Margarita Inn, is currently seeking city approval to convert what had been a pandemic-related temporary use of the former hotel into a permanent long-term care shelter for the homeless.

Update 7/10/22: Connections Executive Director Betty Bogg, in an email to Evanston Now, said Jacob Pure is the son of Margarita Inn owner Michael Pure, not a Connections employee.

“Incidents are supposed to be handled by Connections employees who are trained to handle this sort of situation,” Bogg said. “If Jacob had followed procedures, this could very well have been avoided.”

“Regardless, the resident violated our guidelines and has been discharged from the Margarita Inn,” she said, adding “When we have ownership and full operational control of the Margarita, incidents like this will only be handled by our trained staff.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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18 Comments

  1. Daymeon C. Shelby, was arrested. Yet his behavior for masturbating in the hotel kitchen area. Just how safe will our neighborhood be safe from the rest of these individuals with mental health concerns and violence especially with sexual behavior . Consider the Alexander Park around the corner with our children playing and the females and college students living in the immediate area.? Most importantly will Connections allow him to return back after being released.? The city council members need to act upon this situation forcing Connections to do a m9re extension screening includes background checks of their violence especially sexual misconduct and are we aware of anyone being a sexual predator staying at the Margareta for our safety. I’m definitely not supporting and city officials that approved of the Connections staying at the Margareta. For reflections

    1. My middle schooler has had to reroute walking home from Nichols earlier in the school year because of a raving man… The same man who tailed me that same day as I was going on a run (yes my ‘running’ speed is not very fast, haha.) I have video of this. It never used to happen until 2 or 3 years ago… Hmm I wonder what changed?

    2. I am so sick and frustrated with the negative comments about Connections for the Homeless, their staff and the participants. Most of the comments above are just not true and I wish for once one of you would actually step up and contact someone at the organization and truly learn about the work the ord does and what actually happens at the Margarita Inn. They will literally give a tour to anyone who requests, why not get away from behind your computers, stop being a troll – go meet the staff and the participants. Then work on a solution with them – that’s how you can change ALL of this. Stop saying you aren’t being heard when you actually aren’t talking to the right people.

  2. Nothing says “visit downtown Evanston” like having to deal with homeless people punching you in the face after you tell them to stop masturbating in front of children.

  3. I’m not surprised. Those of us who live in the neighborhood have been aware of this kind of behavior for the last 2 years. It’s just starting to get reported now. We also see drug deals around the building, public drunkenness, etc. But a Greek chorus of well-meaning Interfaith folks, Connections spokespeople, and those Evanston brand of do-gooders who do not even live here, all just shake their fingers at us and recite the same kind of lines. ‘Have some compassion.’ ‘Don’t be racist.’ ‘What else are we supposed to do about homelessness?’

    Those Forest Ave residents are the real NIMBYS; they get to sit on the sidelines and virtue signal with hands over hearts, while breathing a secret sigh of relief that this isn’t happening in their own back yard. Well it’s literally in our back yard… we can see it from our window, hear the shouts from down the street, see the cops’ lights flashing reflected on nearby buildings.

    I recently learned that when Hilda’s Place was established, there were many rules and restrictions that had to be put in place because the neighborhood protested so strongly. I do support a longer-term facility, because how are you supposed to find stability if you have to move every 24 hours, but I do not support Connections’ approach of letting just anybody in, including people with more issues than simple economic hardship.

    ‘The homeless’ isn’t one population, but made up of people who are experiencing economic hardship, have substance issues, and have mental health problems. Yet they’re all shoved into a single box like a pet shelter for humans. If I were homeless I would not want to be stuck in a shelter with people with these kinds of behavioral issues.

    1. Katherine, THANK YOU, your comments are spot – on. See my comment below, as I briefly worked at CFTH this past spring, mainly working with Margarita guests. You wrote: “If I were homeless I would not want to be stuck in a shelter with people with these kinds of behavioral issues…” Some of the Margarita guest are indeed working hard to get ahead, but it’s very difficult for them, as the “disruptive” guests more often than not have “the upper hand”, and management simply looks the other way. There is a “handbook” for shelter guests, but this is simply a “formality”, management plays very “fast and loose” with applying the handbook “rules”. CFTH needs to decide what it wants the Margarita be, it cannot at present just be a “dumping ground” for any and all homeless. Ideally guests need to be strictly screened, must agree to adhere to a program with routine, structure, and accountability, and the ultimate goal should be “independent living”, meaning a home, proper health care, work/income supports, etc. Each homeless person has very different needs, so each person needs a very individualized “life progress plan” in order to get out of homelessness. Some homeless need to be in substance abuse programs, be getting health and other life issues addressed, etc. This CFTH is not doing. And as I mentioned, CFTH management is totally dismissive of any “community concerns” – I know this because I sat in on many CFTH staff meetings where community concerns were ridiculed and dismissed. It’s heartbreaking to see the homeless just “warehoused”, as they are at the Margarita Inn – it could be such a *great* program, something which the Margarita’s neighbors and all of Evanston could be proud of!

    2. They let people rot, smoke pot, take drugs, sell drugs, get drunk going circle around the facility yelling insanities untreated non stop, the staff totally indifferent scrolling their cell calling the cops only after they get punch in the face. It seems that the only thing they care is being funded and that taking loonies in is the ticket to get money, state and federal. In the mean time people with no mental problems experiencing temporary hardship are totally ignored, sorted out, eliminated at the early stages at Hilda.

  4. Let the first person supporting such an idea for the Margarita be changed to a homeless shelter also have one on their block—-yeah, sure—-been there and seen the Evanston NIMBY in action for far too many years…My family and neighbors get the glorious distinction of once nice B&B turned into property value killer, danger to entire community and quite property taken off the tax rolls smack dab in our neighborhood, thanks…Come on now, who out there is volunteering a few houses on their block be turned into homes for homeless?—-yeah, the sound of silence—-exactly what I figured

  5. Surely each person has the right to keep what he/she has worked for: in this case, safe neighborhoods. Most of us feel bad for the misfortune of the homeless. But this does not mean our disinclination to have public fights, public urination, and public masturbation in our neighborhoods mean we are racist or lack compassion. It’s a false equivalency.

  6. I cannot imagine that there is anything the City is doing, or the Seller, to prevent Connections from taking full operational control. They must take responsibility! They brought this man in the middle of a family neighborhood and struggling downtown, and because they are unable to manage their own residents and their own building, he is back on the streets after committing a sex crime. And they have they audacity to blame the City and the Owner of the property.
    They have had years to prove they can properly manage this property and have consistently failed. Betty Bogg and Connections have bitten off more than they can chew.
    How can they bring these people in the middle of a neighborhood, but expect only people with training to be able to deal with them? Neighbors are not trained to manage such high numbers of people who are unstable. We barely have a police force.
    I hope the City will come to its senses and get them out of there for the sake of the residents.

  7. This is not the place for a low barrier shelter. No neighbor would complain if Connections had rules like the Y and operated like the Y. Again, not the place for a low barrier shelter. Research Low Barrier is and the Housing First Experiment. It is NOT a proven panacea to homelessness. Other municipalities have invested billions in Low Barrier and the results were abysmal – triple the demand for people with untreated addictions, criminal records, mental health challenges in the street. There will always be a waiting list at the Margarita because this method is unsuccessful. This is not the time or place to allow an experiment of this nature and magnitude.

  8. Betty is quoted as saying the problem will be fixed when they have full control of the property, but the opposite is likely true: such incidents will likely be glossed over and police not summoned, even when warranted. I feel for the other residents, several of whom have attested to various neighbors they live in fear within the building.

  9. Until you have been in the “shoes” of the homeless, I wouldn’t comment about them.

  10. Community is about caring for each other, even when it’s hard, even when it requires sacrifices to your livlihood. I’m not saying it’s “fair” for the 4th ward to be the home of the Margharita Inn when other wards are not. But our homeless residents need care somewhere and the Margarita Inn is a convenient location for many of our homeless community members who live in Downtown Evanston. And, it does no good to comment to look down on and despise this homeless resident who is likely experiencing mental health issues. Instead, we should approach it from a harm-reduction standpoint. If you are concerned about public safety, you should be glad that organizations like Connections are working to house and treat individuals like Mr. Shelby so that he is not living on the streets. It seems to me that our response to this article should be to be thankful that organizations like Connections exist, so that people like Mr. Shelby are taken care of privately before a situation arises publicly. We all win when we take care of each other!

  11. This past Spring I worked briefly for CFTH, as a case manager, ostensibly to assist (primarily) Margarita Inn residents in accessing Social Security disability benefits, so they could gain income and thus housing. I was, frankly, shocked and appalled by how poorly this facility is “managed”. CFTH uses the “do no harm” social work model, which is ostensibly “client – based”, meaning that clients cannot be told what to do, meaning that Margarita guests are simply allowed to “float around” – thus the place is a “free – for – all”, and only in extreme cases like the one in this article will a guest be expelled. Margarita guests are allowed to drink and use drugs, and in fact several guests are suspected drug dealers; one guest committed suicide (despite many warning signs!) and staff are trained to use Narcan for drug overdoses. Additionally, there is no “program” for the guests, no structure and routine, no requirements in order for guests to stay. A number of guests have been there for years now, doing absolutely nothing – but enjoying their nice private rooms with cable, three meals per day, laundry and housekeeping service, and partying – a sweet deal! There is no time limit for guest stays, and guests only look for housing “if they ask”. The front – line staff (case managers, social workers…) are great, but they cannot really get much done using this “do no harm” model. I’ll add that years ago I went homeless, and luckily I entered a transitional living program (Lincoln Park Community Shelter) that was very nice. There were reasonable rules, and all of us guests had to have a “plan” moving forward, you just couldn’t sit around as Margarita guests are doing. Needless to say, LPCS had strict no – drug/alcohol policies, no disruptive behaviors allowed, etc. It was a safe, clean and supportive environment – guests had structure, routine, and were held accountable. I saw “miracles happen”, and LPCS had a 90% success rate in their guests getting housing, and mental/physical health and income/work stability. LPCS was also closely involved with the surrounding very affluent Lincoln Park community, in this way “concerns” could be successfully addressed – thus the community was generous and supportive. Margarita OTOH is simply a warehouse for misery, Having this nice facility could be “golden” if managed properly, a fine asset to Evanston. But the place is a shambles. Additionally, CFTH executive management has a very smug, “we are owed this place” attitude, and any critics of the Margarita are dismissed as “racists”, “malcontents” and the like. I can honestly state that since Margarita is “just around the corner from me”, that I do *not* want them as a neighbor, due to the inept and clueless management. Thanks for listening, all!

  12. I am unhappy to “second” the statement above. I was a volunteer for Connections. They are well meaning and good intentioned. They are nice people with desire to improve the world. But they are not organized and do not want oversight or rules applied to them. This ultimately holds them back and is their greatest weakness because no one holds them to higher standards. There is not proper staff training. The metrics for measuring “success” are inadequate. I have seen residents being abused by other residents and other very dark things that ultimately forced me out of working with Connections. I now volunteer in Chicago for a much more professional organization that has a great working relationship with the neighborhood and real measurable metrics and standards. It is very satisfying. I would hope that Connections would use the current criticism as a way to improve, instead of denying and deflecting responsibility.
    Well-intentioned but unregulated is insufficient for the severity of the problems. They do talk about the “rich wrap around services,” but the follow through is not there. I would respectfully encourage the City to do the due diligence and find a qualified provider since this ward is struggling with Albany Care already and cannot afford another mismanaged organization that is flippant about their towards the neighborhood.

    1. Betty Bogg’s statement caused some serious questions for me. Maybe I’ve got this wrong, but they seem to expect their ‘internal staff’ or volunteers (?) to take on the job of law enforcement.

      It seems to me that some of the things being reported are actual crimes. Asking ‘internal staff’ or volunteers to handle situations like fistfights, drug use/selling, and … erratic behavior… is asking them to put themselves in harm’s way. That is NOT their job. That’s the police’s job.

      I get that police can be biased against homeless people, but CFH seems hell-bent on covering up ‘whatever’ is going on to the point of stopping LE from doing their jobs and risking their staff instead.

  13. It is so sad to hear all of these comments , especially from formerly involved people that worked there . We were just travelers to Evanston & stayed at the inn several times over the years , loving the area . We walked all around the city & loved having so many nice restraunts/ pubs so close to the inn & the ability to catch the bus so close to us . I do not think that we would feel safe walking near there anymore even if we stayed elsewhere with the current climate. Sad also to say this may impact the surrounding businesses we liked so much as other visitors & locals may avoid going there as well .
    I do see the need for a program like this , but question this particular program &how it is run. I also have an issue with taking away the inn from owners who still want to keep it and run it for themselves. They were always wonderful with us , and that is why we kept staying there . The issue of the expiration of their permit seems more like an excuse that the city & shelter are using to take it away from them since it was supposedly expired back in the seventies .(hard to believe this was not noticed until now). I believe there was an agreement that the back taxes should have been covered when they agreed to let Connections use it as a shelter during covid . They should be given the chance to make good on new taxes after that by running it for themselves again as a hotel so many people made a point of returning to besides us.
    I know this is a different perspective on the issue ,but feel it should be said . I also feel really bad for both the residents of the area & of the shelter ; everyone deserves better , as do the owners of the hotel . I hope the city takes all of these red flags into serious consideration & looks more into the Connections program , true abilities & intentions, to determine if they are a feasible fit anywhere (claims that they may ignore /hide things & in private do not take citizens concerns seriously are distubing) This should not be the case of needing a shelter program so badly that the city is willing to let a program exist because “something is better than nothing”. Evanston should want to be above that kind of reproach. If it turns out to be a good program , put strict oversight on it with accountability & help them find another location that will work for everyone involved . Thank you.

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