Activist brings bullfight video to downtown Geneva

October 22, 1998


By Joel Patenaude

GENEVA- Like a matador waving his red cape before a reluctant bull, animal rights activist Steve Hindi failed to coax a Geneva police officer into charging him-with a crime, that is.

Responding to a complaint that someone was showing graphic videos of bullfighting downtown, an officer found Hindi distributing fliers as televisions glared through the open doors of a van parked tuesday night in the 0-99 block of Main Street.

Hindi, president of the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition, was illegally parked but otherwise “was doing nothing wrong, and the officer left,” Lt. Joe Frega said.

Sgt. Steven Mexin did not-as a Hindi authored press release issued Wednesday morning claimed - “threaten to stop the public display of footage depicting bullfighting,” Frega said.

“That’s absolutely untrue, a total fabrication and an out-and-out lie,” Frega said Wednesday, “and I may seek legal recourse against (Hindi)” for making slanderous statements alleging that an officer threatened to have criminal charges filed against him.

“The gentleman told my officer that he was hoping to be arrested because it would create more publicity for him,” Frega said.

“I would have been happy with a citation without the handcuffs and trip to jail,” said Hindi, who has been arrested many times during years of activism.

“Sure, I’m trying to get attention. Absolutely.”

Advocates for the humane treatment of animals launched a campaign Oct. 10 against the multinational cola giant Pepsico, because of its sponsorship of bullfighting in Mexico.

Hindi said he is showing videotape that shows 28 bulls killed at seven different bullfights in Mexico last spring. he said the videos also show the pepsi logo displayed within the stadiums.

At the impromptu screening of the video in Geneva, ~hindi issue a press release that stated the Gevena police were “researching the law to see if there were any charges applicable.”

That statement was accurate, Frega said.

Hindi added that he suggested to the officer that he be charged with “showing obscenity in public ... Of course someone called in upset about the bullfighting video. I’m upset about it too. It’s a rotten, horrific and bloody thing to be showing.”

Frega said obscenity standards are applied to the dissemination of sexually explicit materials and not to the depiction of the killing of animals.

Hindi said he will take the video display to St. Charles later this week.

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