Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Reuters

A top aide to Chicago's mayor was assault by a man hurling anti-Semitic abuse, at a vigil protesting the shooting of 19-year-old college student by police.

Vance Henry, who is not Jewish, serves as Deputy Chief of Staff to Chicago's Jewish Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Henry was assaulted on Sunday as he attended the vigil for 55-year-old Bettie Jones and 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who were both shot dead on Saturday by police responding to reports of a domestic disturbance.

Quintonio's father, Antonio LaGrier, had called police to tell them his son was threatening him with a baseball bat during a dispute. But he charges that the police response was "excessive and unreasonable"; officers who arrived at the scene shot Quintonio dead, and also accidentally killed neighbor Betty Jones, who lived on the first floor of the home.

At the vigil, called to protest alleged police brutality, an "unidentified man" approached Henry, who has served as Emanuel's Deputy Chief of Staff since 2009, and began verbally assailing him.

“What are you doing here, you should be downtown doing something about this... The police are killing us," the man shouted, according to the Chicago Tribune.

After leaving the scene the assailant then returned once more and continued to hurl abuse at Henry, who told him to "get out of his face." At that point, the man became violent.

"The victim was hit with closed fists, tackled to the ground and kicked repeatedly,” Chicago police told New York Daily News.

In the course of the violent attack the instigator and another man who was with him hurled anti-Semitic insults - likely directed at Emanuel.

Henry admitted himself to Rush University Medical Center shortly after, with minor injuries. 

Police have opened an investigation into the incident, amid claims the attacker has a previous history of altercations with Henry.