During a recent Los Angeles City Council meeting, disgraced councilman Kevin de León was involved in a physical fight with an activist, and part of the brawl was caught on video.
On Nov. 9, De León was at Lincoln Park for a toy giveaway and holiday tree lighting when the incident occurred; his office told The Los Angeles Times.
From 2006 to 2010, de León represented the 45th district in the California State Assembly. He represented the 22nd state senate district from 2010 to 2014 and the 24th state senate district from 2014 to 2018. He was President pro tempore of the California State Senate from Oct. 15, 2014, to March 21, 2018.
Activist groups have been protesting De León’s positions on homelessness even before he received backlash for his part in a racist conversation with other council members, and the conversation was leaked in October.
Knock LA first released the leaked audio of De León participating in a racist discussion with Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmember Cedillo, and LA County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, in which De León compared Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Black child to an accessory. Knock LA is a nonprofit community journalism project dedicated to providing independent journalism.
Martinez and Herrera have since resigned, and Cedillo was defeated in his primary election in June. De León, who apologized, has refused calls to resign.
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RootsAction posted a 30-second video of the altercation on Twitter. It shows activists walking alongside De León inside the event, yelling for him to resign while tenants’ rights advocate Jason Reedy, an organizer with the People’s City Council, stands in front of the councilman holding his phone in his face. De León made his way to a door and attempted to go through and tried to close the door. Reedy followed him, and the councilman seemed to push him back. There was a brief struggle and De León grabbed Reedy, threw him into a table, and tried to push the activist out of the room.
De León said in a statement that he was assaulted; but activists claimed De León was the aggressor.
De León added that he, a staff member, and a volunteer were “violently and physically assaulted by self-proclaimed activists at a community holiday event to the dismay of a multitude of families and children who were there to celebrate a Christmas tree lighting and to receive toys and food.”
“The escalating rhetoric is hitting a fever pitch, transcending from verbal threats into actual acts of violence and must end before more serious harm or loss of life occurs,” the statement said. “Violence is not free speech and has no place in politics or democracy.”
Shakeer Rahman, an attorney representing Reedy, called De León “a disgrace.”
“Video footage clearly shows him and his supporters initiating this assault while Mr. Reedy stands prone,” Rahman said in a statement to The LA Times. “Not only has Kevin de León lost all political legitimacy, his claims that he was the one attacked here simply underscores how he’s lost touch with reality.”
De León’s chief of staff, Jennifer Barraza, said in an interview the councilman plans to press charges against Reedy.
“I decided to try to exit the event to draw the disrupters away from the attending families and children and leave without further incident,” De León said. “We discovered Reedy and others had blocked all available exits. Once we were able to push open a door and try to get out, Reedy launched a pelvic thrust, followed by a headbutt to my forehead.”
De León continued, “My response, in defense of myself, was to push him off of me. In the ensuing struggle, Reedy struck me in the face with a closed fist, violently elbowed a female staff member, and injured a volunteer in front of horrified parents and children.”
Rahman called De León’s account “false.”
“Mr. Reedy was criticizing Kevin de León’s political record and echoing the widespread demands for him to resign,” the attorney said. “De León’s supporters then initiated physical contact by shoving him, and De León grabbed Mr. Reedy. Mr. Reedy had his hands up and made zero contact with anyone until after De León grabbed him.”
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the incident, TMZ reported. Both De León and Reedy filed police reports.
Kevin de León (Left, in light colored shirt), activist Jason Reedy (Right, in green jacket), Screenshot, Twitter.