Joliet Mayor Says He Was Pushed Before Protest Scuffle With 2 Men

WBBM Newsradio Staff
June 02, 2020 - 2:17 pm
Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk (FACEBOOK)

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The Twitter video embedded in this story includes offensive language. 

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk offered an explanation Monday about how he came to tussle with two men over the weekend amid protest-related violence, as Twitter video surfaced that shows part of the incident. 

O’Dekirk said his police officers were badly outnumbered by looters, vandals and others Sunday night.

"We were being hit with bottles, rocks, strings of M-80s and they were blowing up all around the police," he told WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya.

At one point, the Mayor said, as police were trying to disperse the group, a person came at him and pushed him. When the mayor held on to him and pulled him to a police vehicle, he said a second person jumped on top of him.

O’Dekirk, a former Joliet police officer, said in a statement that he was provoked when he grabbed a “rioter” and started walking him backward towards a police car.

“I was confronted by a rioter, then attacked,” O’Dekirk said. “Using standard police tactics to immobilize the attacker by separating him from the crowd and walking him backwards toward police officers, I was jumped from behind by a second attacker.”

When the mayor held on to the man who pushed and pulled him to a police vehicle, he said a second person jumped on top of him.

O'Dekirk said all three of them went to the ground. Police came and arrested the two men, he said.

Twitter video surfaced Monday that shows the confrontation. It's entitled "The Mayor of Joliet throws protester to the ground."

In the clip, a man with a long jacket approaches O'Dekirk. The camera swings away briefly before the Mayor is seen collaring the man and dragging him to a police vehicle in a parking lot. Then a second man joins in the tussle, apparently trying to help the man O'Dekirk detained. The three go to the ground. Police officers swarm the scene.

O'Dekirk said the event happened along Jefferson Street, near Stryker. He said the first person in the video was walking by in a group and then "turned around to engage me and pushed me. You can get a quick glimpse of that at the beginning of the tussle."

WBBM Newsradio sent an email to Joliet police seeking booking information about the two who fought with the Mayor.

O'Dekirk said he does not want what happened to him to overshadow the good job his officers did Sunday night.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow released a statement Tuesday evening saying that his office has reviewed the reports and two videos of the incident, and will be requesting an investigation by an independent third party.

The Joliet Police Department requested that Illinois State Police conduct the investigation, Glasgow said, “to avoid any potential conflicts of interest and ensure a completely transparent process.”

“No final charging decision can be made until a full and independent investigation is completed,” Glasgow said.

O’Dekirk said both males were unharmed and that he suffered “minor bruises.”

WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya and Mike Ramsey compiled this report.