The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office has asked the Illinois State Police to investigate an incident involving Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and protesters that was caught on video Monday evening.
In the video, O’Dekirk is seen apparently wrestling with a demonstrator during a clash between police and protesters on Monday evening.
On Tuesday, the State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed that it had reviewed investigate reports of the incident, and that it had received two separate independently-sourced videos.
In an effort to “ensure that the interests of justice and fairness are served,” the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Joliet Police Department have asked the Illinois State Police to investigate the incident to prevent conflicts of interest.
“As our nation works to mend in the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic murder, the State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to guaranteeing justice and absolute integrity in its review of this and all matters,” the office said in a statement.
The video purportedly shows O’Dekirk grabbing a man and forcibly walking him towards a police car. In the clip, a person then attacks the mayor from behind before police swarm in and clear the area.
The video does not show the events that preceded the confrontation.
In a statement issued to the Chicago Tribune and other news outlets, O’Dekirk says he was acting in “self-defense” after being attacked by the man.
“As a former Joliet police officer and as the Mayor of Joliet sworn to uphold the laws of our state and city, I was on the front lines with our police officers urging anyone disturbing the peace or engaging in criminal activity to go home,” O’Dekirk said in the statement. “I was confronted by a rioter, then attacked. 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.”
The mayor says he only suffered minor bruises in the incident.