Man charged in attack on Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. outside his office

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Surveillance video has been released showing an apparent attack on a Chicago alderman. (WLS)

A man has been charged in connection with an attack on a Chicago alderman that was caught on surveillance video.

Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. says he was punched Thursday night outside of his office on the city's Near West Side.

Chicago police announced charges against Rafheal Taylor, 30, late Friday. He's charged with aggravated battery against a government employee and possession of cannabis.

"He was fast because he hit me fast and pushed me," Burnett said.

The alderman said the attacker caught him by surprise as he reached the front door of his office. In the video, the man lands a right fist squarely onto the alderman's forehead.

"He said, 'You know what that's for'. I get up, I'm like, 'Hey man, what's goin' on? He walks away," Burnett said.

Aldermanic staffers told investigators the man was in the outer office earlier Thursday asking when Burnett would arrive.

"He wanted to know when I was going to be there. He needed to talk to me and Rahm Emanuel because we keep messing with him and that he's gonna get us," Burnett said.

Police arrived and arrested a suspect nearby during the minutes after the incident. The man was identified by several witnesses, including the alderman.

"He appeared to be tweaking. He appeared to be like he was on something," Burnett said.

In his younger years, Burnett was a Golden Gloves boxer who says he's unafraid to walk the most dangerous streets of the 27th Ward. He says he's less worried about gangbangers with guns.

"What concerns me, more so than the violence, are the people with mental challenges," Burnett said.

One of whom he says he believes staked out his office all day Thursday.

"As of late we've been getting more and more people with mental challenges coming in the office. And we think they, they just need help man," Burnett said.

Burnett, the 27th Ward alderman since 1995, voted for that 2012 city budget that reduced mental health services in Chicago. He says what he sees not only in and around his office but all over the city, Chicago and the state need to spend more to address mental illness.

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newsattackmental healthChicago - Near West Side
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