Cicero man charged after officers hit with wooden flagpoles in Little Village

A Cicero man was charged Sunday for allegedly striking a police officer in Little Village overnight early Saturday with a heavy, wooden flagpole.

Prosecutors charged Arturo Rodriguez, 46, with a felony count of aggravated battery of a peace officer. They alleged he hit a police officer lying on the ground in the back of the head with the wooden flagpole as officers tried to pursue and arrest two teens, court records show.

An unknown attacker struck another officer in the head with a wooden pole, severely cutting the officer’s ear, according to a police report obtained by the Tribune.

Officers had been blocking traffic at the corner of West 26th Street and South Homan Avenue before the attack occurred around 1 a.m., according to the report.

Flag-bearing cars had filled streets throughout the neighborhood as people celebrated Mexican Independence Day and attended the Riot Fest music festival at nearby Douglass Park earlier.

The attack occurred after a 16-year-old had been shooting a gel pellet “Orbeez” toy gun at passing cars, the police report said. The teen also fired the toy’s light, squishy, water-absorbing gel balls at a squad car, it continued.

Officers asked the teen to stop, and he began to fire the gel balls at two Illinois state police officers “causing pain,” the report said. Police again demanded he stop. The teen fled as police tried to arrest him, the report continued.

Police pursued and caught the teen. As officers tried to place him into custody, a 15-year-old began to also fire gel pellets at their faces.

The 15-year-old also fled, and as officers chased him, an unknown attacker struck an officer on the right side of his head with a heavy wooden flagpole, the report said.

The pole attack caused a deep cut to the officer’s right ear, “which began to bleed profusely,” the report said.

As another officer lay on the ground “defenseless,” Rodriguez allegedly struck the officer with a wooden flagpole in the back of the head and neck, the report said. The attack caused the officer bruising and swelling, the report continued.

Police arrested Rodriguez at the scene. Judge Maryam Ahmad set Rodriguez’s bail at $65,000 Sunday, meaning he has to post $6,500 to be released on electronic monitoring, court records show.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty in February 2020 to a domestic violence charge accusing him of putting his hands on a teen daughter’s neck, causing red marks. He completed a probation term in January 2021, court records show. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

Amid the attacks and arrests, an unknown person threw a glass bottle that struck a state police officer in the head as more police responded to the attacks, the report said.

The officers who were struck by the flagpoles transported themselves to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where one of them “received 30 stitches to repair his right ear and reconnect it,” the report continued.

The 16-year-old arrested at the scene was placed into the custody of child services, the report said. He had caused an officer to fall to the ground while attempting to pull away while handcuffed, according to the report.

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