Retired Judge Throws Punch at Chicago Anti-Racism Protester Near Defaced Columbus Statue

A former judge attempted to strike an anti-racism protester near a Christopher Columbus statue at Arrigo Park in Chicago, Illinois, on June 13.

Tooka Zokaie, who originally uploaded the video to Twitter, told Storyful the former judge, Robert Bertucci, engaged in a conversation with anti-racism protesters close to the Columbus statue, which had been splattered with paint.

Zokaie explained that the protester in the video, who asked not to be named, was speaking to the judge about his experience growing up in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

“The individual explaining his truth to the judge was peacefully sitting until the judge kept calling him hypocritical and that it isn’t about black lives but about people,” Zokaie said. “The peaceful protester was explaining to the judge how being black in America is not as safe, privileged, or protected as those who are white.”

In the video, the individual tells Bertucci that he was harassed at school and at one point someone wrote the N-word on his locker. Bertucci can be heard saying, “That sucks.”

The individual asks Bertucci if any of those experiences happened to him, following up screaming, “No, it didn’t, and all you are is bothered by hypocrisy.”

Bertucci can be seen stepping forward while telling the individual, “Don’t spit on me.” Bertucci lunges and swings at the protester while police stand close by. The police immediately step in, as Bertucci continues to accuse the protester of spitting on him. Bertucci is ultimately let go.

The individual told the Chicago Sun-Times this incident has not discouraged him from protesting.

“Going forward, I definitely feel like this is going to be something that is going to push me to feel more … ready to fight this battle,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. Credit: Tooka Zokaie via Storyful