LAPD said it is investigating a physical altercation between Los Angeles Councilman Kevin de Leon and an activist during in Lincoln Heights.
The activist was identified as Jason Reedy and appeared to be following de Leon at the Lincoln Heights holiday event Friday night, calling him a racist and telling him to resign.
“The Los Angeles Police Department’s Detective Support and Vice Division Threat Management Unit is investigating an incident where an altercation occurred involving a Los Angeles City Councilmember during a community event,” LAPD said through a press release.”While participating in a local community event, Councilmember De Leon was approached by multiple community members, who blocked his path of travel as he attempted to leave the building,”
De Leon released a statement, giving his side of the events, and saying he acted in self-defense.
“A group of so-called ‘activists’- who have been harassing my staff and me for more than a year-cornered and physically assaulted me, a staff member, and a volunteer during a holiday event on Friday evening,” de Leon said through a statement. “Jason Reedy and his accomplices started by shouting obscenities and disrupting a community toy giveaway and tree lighting ceremony already underway. I decided to try to exit the event to draw the disrupters away from the attending families and children and leave without further Incident. Still, 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. My response, in defense of myself, was to push him.”
The incident was caught on video by Roots Action and J-Town Action and Solidarity, with a 10-second version of the video being posted to social media, later followed by an extended clip.
While several parts of the video were blocked off by a crowd of people, there are moments where de Leon could be seen attempting to leave the venue while being followed and called a racist by Reedy. At a later point in the video, Reedy was being physically separated by a de Leon staff member, but managed to get face-to-face with de Leon anyway.
Full video of conflict Friday night involving Kevin De Leon.
— RootsAction (@Roots_Action) December 10, 2022
Both parties filed batter reports, with Reedy alleging that de Leon grabbed and threw him, which appeared to be consistent with the video and what de Leon said.
“News outlets keep saying stuff like KDL was ‘involved in a fight,'” Councilman Mike Bonin tweeted Saturday. “KDL straight up assaulted him. And now he’s issuing demonstrably false statements claiming to be the victim.”
Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez made a statement against the activists at the event, going as far as calling them “terrorists.”
“Angelenos have every right to peacefully protest,” Rodriguez said on Twitter. “But when protest devolves into wielding physical intimidation, threats and acts of violence, it’s no longer protest, it’s terrorism.”
The altercation came hours after de Leon attempted to join a city council meeting for the first time since October, with the councilman being away since the release of the infamously racist and homophobic leaked audio recording between himself, Gil Cedillo, former council president Nury Martinez and former L.A. Fed Union president Ron Herrera.
In the midst of individuals giving public comment, de Leon quietly entered the council chambers and sat at his old seat. Once the room was aware of his presence, both council members Bonin and Marqueece Harris-Dawson left the chambers, and Council President Paul Krekorian called a 10-minute recess. When the council returned, de Leon did not.
“Some people are ready to excuse CM de Leon’s behavior,” Harris-Dawson tweeted after de Leon’s appearance. “I am not.”
De Leon also had a recall campaign launched against him this week, with the L.A. City Clerk approving a petition to begin gathering signatures within the 14th district.
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