LA councilor embroiled in race scandal under investigation for fighting activist at holiday event

A Los Angeles councilman who refused to resign over leaked audio recordings of him attending a meeting in which racist comments were made about his co-workers is being investigated police after a video emerged allegedly showing him fighting with a community activist at a holiday event, authorities said.

Council member Kevin de León was videotaped Friday night physically confronting each other in front of parents and children at a toy distribution and Christmas tree lighting event in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, where police were called to quell the violence, according to a statement released Sunday by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Video obtained by ABC Los Angeles station KABC showed de León, wearing a red and white Santa hat, confronted by a group of activists calling him a racist and apparently trying to block him as he tried to leave. the event. In the footage, which has been posted on social media, one of the activists, identified as Jason Reedy, is seen standing nose to nose with de León before the adviser pushed him onto a table and grabbed his jacket, pushing him out of view of the camera.

Signs calling for the resignation of LA City Council member Kevin de Leon are displayed near de Leon’s home following a leaked audio recording, October 18, 2022 in Los Angeles.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

After the incident, de León claimed he was trying to defend himself after he said Reedy head-butted him. De León filed a battery complaint against Reedy, who countered by filing his own battery complaint against de León, according to the LAPD.

The LAPD said the incident is under investigation and no one has been arrested.

“Kevin de León is a disgrace. Video footage clearly shows him and his supporters initiating this assault as Mr. Reedy stands with his hands in the air,” Reedy’s attorney said in a press release. “Not only has Kevin de León lost all political legitimacy, but his claims that he was the one attacked here just underscores how out of touch he has been with reality.”

De León released a statement alleging that Reedy is part of “a group of so-called ‘militants'” who have been harassing him and his team for over a year.

He claimed the group “cornered and physically assaulted me, a staff member and a volunteer at a holiday event on Friday night”.

He said Reedy and other members of the group began shouting obscenities and disrupting the holiday event, prompting him to attempt to leave the event to “keep the disruptors away from the families and children in attendance”, but the militants blocked all the exit doors.

“Once we were able to push open a door and try to get out, Reedy threw a pelvic thrust, followed by a headbutt to my forehead,” de León said. “My response, in self-defense, was to push him away. In the ensuing struggle, Reedy punched me in the face with a clenched fist, violently elbowed a female staff member and injured a volunteer. in front of horrified parents and children.”

Earlier on Friday, chaos ensued at a city council meeting when de León appeared for the first time since being embroiled in the October 2021 closed meeting scandal in which he attended with the then-president of the city council, Nury Martinez, and a third Latino member of the city council, Gil Cedillo. In the recording of the meeting, leaked earlier this year, Martinez allegedly made racist comments about his colleagues and the black son of white council member Mike Bonin while discussing a redistricting to retain their power.

PICTURED: FILE - LA City Council member Kevin De Leon speaks at an event in Los Angeles, April 14, 2018.

Los Angeles City Council member Kevin De Leon speaks at an event in Los Angeles, April 14, 2018, when he was then a Democratic state senator.

NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE

At Friday’s council meeting, community members in attendance booed de León’s presence and Bonin abruptly stood up and stormed out of the meeting. The uproar caused a suspension to be called and de León did not return to the meeting.

De León said he tried to attend the meeting to represent his constituents.

“I stayed out of the room after the agitators exploded to give the Chairman of the Board an opportunity to regain control of the meeting and allow public comment to continue because so many of those present were my constituents,” said of Leon. “Unfortunately, none of those things happened.”

But de León’s departure did not shorten the noisy meeting. Instead, outgoing city council member Paul Koretz used his farewell speech to fire on protesters, saying they “did their best to make it difficult for us to do our job. over the past two and a half years”.

“In their own words: I’m giving up the rest of my time. Fuck you,” Koretz said.

Although de León and Cedillo were not heard making racist comments on the leaked tape, calls intensified for them and Martinez to resign from the city council. Martinez apologized for her comments and resigned from the board in October.

De León and Cedillo refused to step down from the board despite calls from California Governor Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden to do so.

On October 26, the city council voted 12-0 to publicly reprimand the three council members.

ABC News

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