One of the beach balls a Northwest Side mother and daughter were carrying when a man punched the girl to get her beach ball. Michelle Fiore, for the Tribune

One of the beach balls a Northwest Side mother and daughter were carrying when a man punched the girl to get her beach ball. (Michelle Fiore, for the Tribune / August 7, 2012)

Michelle Fiore was enjoying an evening out with her 11-year-old daughter after Lollapalooza when a  man confronted them, demanded the girl's souvenir beach ball and punched the child as he tried to grab it, police and the woman say.

“It’s ridiculous,’’ Fiore said in an interview. “We were attacked for a beach ball.’’

The stay-at-home-mom and her daughter were walking on Jackson Boulevard just west of Michigan Avenue about 8:45 p.m. Sunday, each carrying beach balls they’d gotten at the music fest, when four people who appeared to be in their late teens approached.

“They were bickering,’’ said Fiore of the two young women and two young men. All four were wearing 3-day wrist passes to the fest.

One of them confronted Fiore and her daughter and asked if he could have one of the beach balls.

Fiore, who at first thought the person was goofing around, replied that she didn’t want to hand them over and lightheartedly suggested: “Sure, that will be $50.’’

Fiore said the man became upset and said, "I’m a college student. Does it look like I have money?"

Police said the man then punched the 11-year-old in the abdomen while the girl was holding the beach ball.  Fiore said she believed the man was trying to get her to drop it.

"She was holding her stomach but not enough to go to the" emergency room, she said. “It hurt for a little bit but it was fine."

She and her daughter ran to their car, flagging down an officer on the way.

Conrad Slimak, 19, was taken into custody at 66 E. Jackson Blvd. and charged with misdemeanor battery and assault, police said. Slimak, of the 1200 block of North Lake Shore Drive, also was cited with being intoxicated while underage.

A second 19-year-old man was also arrested in the incident and charged with misdemeanor assault, according to police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

Estrada said that man, who refused to give his name to police, threatened the woman and the girl verbally. 

“It's strange,’’ Fiore said. “I was very shaken up by this.’’

rsobol@tribune.com
Twitter:@RosemarySobol1