An afternoon in Grant Park turned tragic Wednesday when Staley The Bear, beloved mascot of Chicago’s NFL franchise, mauled seven picnickers, sending all to the hospital and placing three in critical condition.
According to police reports, Staley had drawn a crowd while performing a dance routine to “Let’s Get it Started” by the Black Eyed Peas. The situation took a turn for the worst when Staley looked up while doing “The Robot,” noticed the on-lookers, and quickly ravaged the crowd.
“One minute we were watching the bear do his thing. The next minute we were fighting for our lives,” said Rob Hinmeyer, a stockbroker who frequents the park during his lunch break.
“The public must remember Staley is a bear,” said Animal Control Agent Julie Sheridan. “He may wear a jersey and do cartwheels, but we can’t stress enough that he’s a wild animal.”
This is not the first run-in with the law for a Chicago mascot. Last July Benny The Bull was arrested for a DUI, but was ultimately found not guilty.
University of Chicago sociology professor Tony Clemens believes the incidents could be related.
“When the charges against Benny were dismissed, the courts sent a clear message that the mascots of Chicago are untouchable. Mascots lead a fast life of money, women and fame. Violent behavior usually goes hand-in-hand with that lifestyle.”
Staley was taken into custody, but was released when Bears GM Jerry Angelo posted bail. He is due in court October 23.