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Local News

Investigation of Joliet mayor's scuffle continues

A scuffle between Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and two men at a protest May 31 still is under investigation by the Illinois State Police.

The incident took place on West Jefferson Street near Stryker Avenue after a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.

A video posted on YouTube showed O’Dekirk grabbing Victor Williams and dragging him away before Williams’ brother Jamal Smith intervened. O’Dekirk later said he was pushed before grabbing Williams.

Once the mayor and two brothers went to the ground, several police officers jumped in. Their actions also are part of the investigation.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Delila Garcia said the investigation by the ISP Division of Criminal Investigations is “still ongoing and has not been turned over to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.”

State’s attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney also said the incident is under investigation by state police.

O’Dekirk did not respond to a call Friday about the investigation.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow called on the Illinois State Police to conduct an investigation of the incident “to avoid any potential conflicts of interest and ensure a completely transparent process.”

Williams and Smith were arrested by Joliet police on probable cause of aggravated assault and mob action.

Prosecutors decided not to file charges against Williams and Smith when they appeared in court July 2 but could bring them later.

Williams’ attorney, Lawrence X. O’Reilly, said Friday he didn’t know if the ISP investigation has concluded. He said when he spoke with ISP about two weeks ago, they would not say whether the investigation was done.

The scuffle involving O’Dekirk has sparked protests, including demonstrations outside his home in Joliet, and calls for his resignation. O’Dekirk has said he will not resign and plans to finish his term. He has said that he “only acted to defend myself because I felt my personhood was threatened.”

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