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Video shows Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk grab protester

The mayor said the ‘rioter’ confronted him first.

Screenshot from a YouTube video showing Mayor Bob O’Dekirk grab a protester.
Screenshot from a YouTube video showing Mayor Bob O’Dekirk grab a protester.
YouTube user R.T. Productions

A video posted to YouTube Monday shows Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk grab a protester at a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, resulting in a scuffle that ended with two people in police custody.

O’Dekirk, a former Joliet police officer, said 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 in a written statement. “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 video shows a group of Joliet police officers walking towards demonstrators, most who walk away to a chorus of vehicle horns. When the camera turns back around, O’Dekirk can be seen grabbing the collar of a male who is facing him, though it was not clear from the video what sparked the confrontation.

Seconds later, another man runs up to O’Dekirk from behind and grabs him, then all three tumble to the ground.

Both men were taken into custody, O’Dekirk said.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said Tuesday evening 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 the 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 the others were unharmed and that he suffered “minor bruises.”