Man Who Beat Mayor Says He "Freaked" Out

Milwaukee mayor talks about weekend attack

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009  |  Updated 3:17 PM CDT
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Milwaukee Mayor:  "I'm Still Standing"

AP

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett lost teeth and had his hand broken during an attack Saturday.

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Milwaukee Mayor: "I'm Still Standing"

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett speaks publicly for the first time since he was attacked while leaving the Wisconsin State Fair with his family last weekend.
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A battered Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he only did what any good citizen should do when he took a beating to protecting a scared granny.

The 20-year-old man who accosted him said he "freaked."

But that defense won't stand up for long.

Authorities charged Anthony J. Peters on Thursday with first-degree reckless injury and theft and two misdemeanors. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 36 years behind bars.

According to the complaint, Peters says he was arguing with his 1-year-old daughter's grandmother Saturday near the Wisconsin State Fair. Prosecutors say Mayor Tom Barrett responded to the woman's shouts by trying to call 911.

The complaint says Peters snatched Barrett's phone, threatened to shoot him and the two exchanged punches before Peters beat him with a metal bar.

The situation got "very, very ugly, very, very quickly, " said Barrett.

The mayor suffered a shattered hand, missing teeth and gashes on his face and back of his head.

Speaking from his home, where he has been recuperating since he left the hospital on Monday, Barrett said he initially thought something was wrong with the baby before quickly realizing the 20-year-old man was agitated.

A criminal complaint says a 20-year-old Milwaukee man has admitted he "freaked out" when he attacked the city's mayor.

Peters was to appear in court Thursday. Court records didn't list a defense attorney.

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