LOS ANGELES– A Los Angeles City Council member was involved in a fight with an activist at a holiday event Friday night.
The altercation involving Kevin de León happened during a toy giveaway and Christmas tree lighting in Lincoln Park, the Los Angeles Times reported.
León said in a statement to the newspaper that he was assaulted, while activists said the council member was the attacker.
The Times reported that two local activist organizations, RootsAction and J-TOWN Action and Solidarity, posted a video on Twitter showing part of the incident between De León and a man identified as Jason Reedy, a popular city council organizer .
De León’s office said Reedy and other activists were at fault. De León spokesman Pete Brown said the board member was headbutted by Reedy, a member of his staff was elbowed in the face and a volunteer was given a punched in the arm, The Times reported.
De León’s statement to The Times said they were “violently and physically assaulted by self-proclaimed activists during a community holiday event to the dismay of a multitude of families and children who were there to celebrate the lighting a Christmas tree and receiving toys and food.”
“The escalating rhetoric is reaching a fever pitch, escalating from verbal threats to actual acts of violence and must stop before more serious damage 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” in a statement to The Times on Friday night.
“Video footage clearly shows him and his followers launching this assault as Mr. Reedy stands prone,” Rahman said. “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.”
Earlier on Friday, De León attended his first city council meeting in nearly two months following a scandal over racist remarks by elected officials.