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Alderman's accusations of assault by colleague loom over Chicago City Council meeting

Chicago alderman accuses colleague of assaulting him
Chicago alderman accuses colleague of assaulting him 02:55

CHICAGO (CBS) -- During a Chicago City Council meeting Wednesday, allegations of one alderman attacking another loomed over the proceedings.

In the latest in what appears to be concerning behavior at City Hall, Ald. Desmon Yancy (5th) accused Ald. Greg Mitchell (7th) of assaulting him.

Ald. Yancy is calling the alleged assault "unprovoked" – and said it stemmed from a disagreement over an ordinance.

While both aldermen declined to discuss the allegations on camera with CBS 2, Mayor Brandon Johnson said the incident was unfortunate.

As proceedings began inside City Council Chambers Wednesday, Ald. Yancy was seemingly unfazed as he sat a seat away from Ald. Mitchell - the person he says attacked him just a week ago.

According to the explosive claim, Yancy said in a letter sent to his colleagues in the council that Mitchell's behavior was "not only unacceptable, it is an indication that he is unfit for leadership."

That disagreement, he said, stemmed from Mitchell's opposition to Yancy's South Shore Housing Preservation Ordinance - which addresses concerns homeowners have over being priced out in wake of the Obama Presidential Center's completion in Jackson Park.

It all came to a head last Thursday after the City Council adjourned, when Mitchell approached Yancy in a hallway and allegedly put his arms around Yancy's head and shoulders - attempting to wrestle him to the ground.

The two men were reportedly separated by security officers.

Ald. Mitchell responded to the claim in a statement to CBS 2:

"Alderman Yancy is a colleague I respect and admire tremendously, especially since we share the South Shore neighborhood. I did not assault him, and I have never assaulted anyone in my life. It's simply not my style, which is why we met for more than two hours to work through our recent disagreement. I look forward to continuing to work with Alderman Yancy and the entire council to serve the city I love."

Mayor Johnson addressed the incident after the City Council meeting Wednesday.

"Obviously, I don't condone any physical altercation," the mayor said. "You know, I just hope that people could have substantive dialogue around a host of matters."

This was just the latest example of concerning behavior from the council.

CBS 2 cameras captured an incident back in November when Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) blocked a colleague, Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) from entering the chamber to vote. That incident led Ramirez-Rosa to issue an apology and step down as the mayor's floor leader and from his role on the Zoning Committee.

Yancy is now calling for similar action to be taken against Ald. Mitchell. Meanwhile, the mayor says he still hadn't gotten the full story as of Wednesday evening.

"I'm going to have a conversation with both of over the next 36, 48 hours just to get a better understanding of what went down," Mayor Johnson said. "You know. It's unfortunate that our public debates have spilled out in a way that doesn't speak to the best of democracy."

CBS 2 did get a chance to speak to Ald. Yancy at the City Council meeting Wednesday. He told CBS 2 off camera that he thinks the whole incident is "stupid."

Yancy added that a private meeting was scheduled for Wednesday to address what happened between the men.

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