Illinois House candidate alleges assault outside campaign office

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CHICAGO (STMW) - Robert Zwolinski, candidate for 4th District state representative, is alleging he was attacked Sunday night by two people putting up signs for his opponent at his Ukrainian Village office. But they tell a far different story.

The 30-year-old Zwolinsk approached two people stapling posters outside his campaign office at 823 N. Ashland about 9:15 p.m., according to Chicago Police.

Zwolinski alleges in a statement that the posters supported his Democratic primary opponent, incumbent State Rep. Cynthia Soto, who took office in 2001 for the district, which includes parts of Bucktown, Humboldt Park, Logan Square and Ukrainian Village.

Chicago Police confirmed an incident at that location, though it did not release the names of any alleged victims, as is standard policy.

Zwolinski said when he asked the pair to remove the posters, an argument ensued and a 26-year-old man hit Zwolinski in the chest. The woman, thought to be in her 20s, then struck him in the head with a bottle and shot a staple gun at his forehead, causing a laceration, police said.

Zwolinski, who also said the woman tried to strangle him, said the laceration required six stitches at Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital. He also alleges the pair threatened to kill his girlfriend.

Police said the man and woman drove away in a Chevrolet Equinox northbound on Ashland.

Zwolinski is calling for Soto’s immediate resignation in the wake of the attack.

But the man and woman claim they were the victims in the attack, police said. The man told investigators Zwolinski ripped the posters down, grabbed him by the shirt, threw him to the ground and punched him several times.

Attorney Frank Avila represents the man and woman who were posting campaign signs.

The two were volunteers on the Soto campaign, and were posting signs on nearby storefronts, which were either vacant or places where the owner had given permission. They did not put signs on Zwolinski’s office, Avila said.

Then the candidate came out to confront them.

“They were not the aggressors,” Avila said Monday afternoon. “Robert Zwolinksi was the aggressor. If he was injured, it was in self-defense.”

The man has been treated and released at Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital, police said.

As of Monday morning, no one has been taken into custody in connection with the incident and no charges have been filed. A representative from Soto’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.