Local pastors around Joliet, Illinois, are calling for their white mayor to resign after he was caught clashing with a black protester.
A video posted Monday showed Mayor Bob O’Dekirk grab a protester at a demonstration over the police killing of George Floyd, which ended with a altercation that ended with two people in police custody.
O’Dekirk, who is a former Joliet police officer, said he was provoked when he grabbed the protester and started walking him backwards toward a police car, reports the Chicago Sun Times.
“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 officers walking towards the protesters and O’Dekirk can be seen grabbing the collar of a man. It’s unclear from the video what sparked the confrontation.
Seconds later, another man runs up to O’Dekirk from behind and grabs him, then all three fall to the ground with the two men taken into custody.
In the backdrop of protests against racial inequality and police brutality, local pastors are now calling for the resignation of O’Dekirk.
“I think that the most powerful man in this city should always be the voice of reason, the voice of calm and one who is pushing for peace and not violence or vandalism,” Bishop Steve Evans told Patch Media. “This situation could have escalated to the point where we are still mopping up blood and picking up bodies.”
A county state attorney said he is requesting an investigation by an independent third party into the incident.
The Joliet Police Department requested that the Illinois State Police conduct the investigation to avoid any potential conflicts of interests.