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Niles councilman Doug Sollitto involved in bar fight

NILES — A Niles City Council member is accused of punching a man he defeated in a 2019 primary for the 1st Ward seat during a confrontation outside of a city bar, according to a police report.

No charges were filed, however, after both men and witnesses were questioned by police.

Councilman Doug Sollitto, D-1st Ward, and former Councilman Patrick Kearney were involved in a dustup just after 5 p.m. Friday outside Cleary’s Bar, 1216 N. Main St.

Sollitto defeated then-incumbent Kearney in the 2019 Democratic primary with about 64 percent of the vote.

Sollitto told police he went to the bar because he heard Kearney was there taking part in a “political discussion” about the candidates running for council at-Large seats in the Nov. 2 election.

Once he arrived at the bar, Kearney called Sollitto a “flip-flopper,” Sollitto reported.

Sollitto told police he went outside and Kearney followed and said, “You’re a joke” and “I know where you live,” and spat on Sollitto’s pant leg and shirt. When the confrontation started, Kearney’s girlfriend got in between the two, the report states.

Sollitto told police he pushed Kearney’s hat off his head and when Kearney charged at him swinging and missing, Sollitto swung and struck Kearney. Sollitto stated Kearney continued to charge and Sollitto swung a second time.

Kearney then left and Sollitto told police he went back inside the bar and bought everyone a drink before leaving, the report states. Sollitto said Kearney threatened him.

Kearney told police he was at Cleary’s when Sollitto threatened him and tried to get a woman to fight his girlfriend. Kearney and his girlfriend told police Sollitto was waiting outside of the bar for Kearney and when the two left Sollitto began yelling and came after Kearney. When Kearney’s girlfriend stepped back from separating the two, Sollitto took a swing, she told police.

Other witnesses said Kearney pushed Sollitto.

An officer who viewed footage of the incident said Sollitto was outside of the bar and after Kearney emerged, Sollitto approached Kearney and his girlfriend got in between the two. And when the woman stepped back, “Sollitto is observed striking Kearney at the side of the head / face where then Kearney attempts to defend himself and strike back,” the report states.

Kearney refused medical treatment, but officers took photos of his face.

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