Police: Misdemeanor charges for Naperville man who waved bat at protesters

  • Thomas A. Ruiz

    Thomas A. Ruiz

 
 
Updated 6/30/2020 5:57 PM

A Naperville man is facing misdemeanor charges after he confronted two teens while holding a baseball bat as they were leaving a protest, police said.

Thomas A. Ruiz, 56, of the 600 block of East Chicago Avenue, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, Deputy Chief Jason Arres said Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The charges stem from the evening of June 1, when Arres said two juveniles were leaving a protest in downtown Naperville and walking through a nearby neighborhood. In a confrontation captured in a video that circulated widely on social media, Arres said, Ruiz was standing outside holding a baseball bat and talking to people walking by.

The video shows a man brandishing a wooden bat, saying, "I don't want my town (expletive) up" and mentioning it was after a curfew the city imposed because of the protest. The protest was one of several in Naperville planned to decry the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the issues of police brutality and racism.

Police arrested Ruiz on Friday, and records show his bond was set at $2,000.

The case was charged as an assault, Arres said, because Ruiz was knowingly using a weapon -- the baseball bat -- in a way that caused the teens to feel reasonable apprehension that they would be struck.

Arres said police continue to investigate "a lot of leads" related to vandalism, damage to storefronts and a stabbing that occurred after 9:30 p.m. June 1, when that day's protest turned destructive.

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Naperville police so far have released the names of five people charged with burglary, disorderly conduct, breach of peace, interfering with a police officer, possession of stolen property and theft in connection with the June 1 protest.

Police have said the cases of at least four other June 1 arrestees remain under investigation.

"We feel confident we will be closing some more cases that happened that evening," Arres said.

Federal authorities, meanwhile, have announced charges against an Aurora man accused of throwing an incendiary device at a Naperville police vehicle during the June 1 protest, which exploded and caused a panic.

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