Joliet Mayor Speaks Out After Scuffle With Protester Caught on Video

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Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said the idea of resigning never crossed his mind following an incident caught on camera that shows him grabbing a man and wrestling him to the ground.

O’Dekirk, a former Joliet police officer, was accompanying police last week when he said protests turned into chaos.

The video shows O’Dekirk grabbing Victor Williams, 23, and wrestling him to the ground.

“I only acted to defend myself because I felt my personhood was threatened,” O’Dekirk said.  “The incident in question was an individual who came and engaged me. That’s essentially what led to the altercation.”

Williams’ attorneys said their client was trying to walk to his older brother, Jamal Smith.

“The video doesn’t exactly show what was exchanged in terms of words, but the next thing you know, he grabs him by around the area around his neck and pushes him violently,” said attorney Michael Baker.

Friends and family voiced their support for two men involved in a dramatic physical confrontation with Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk that was caught on video. NBC 5's Chris Coffey reports.

Williams and Smith are both facing assault and mob action charges. 

The incident is being investigated by the Illinois State Police.

O’Dekirk said he was not impersonating a police officer.  He said he was trying to defuse the situation in order to keep the peace.

“It was never my intention to take any action or activity to distract the message of those peacefully protesting,” O’Dekirk said.  “This unfortunate altercation is a teachable moment for everybody. For the people of Joliet, for the Joliet Police Department and even for me as the mayor.”

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