Embattled Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de Leon fights with activist at holiday event

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Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de Leon is back in hot water after fighting social justice organizer Jason Reedy at a holiday event Friday night.

Councilmember de Leon had made his first appearance at an L.A. city council meeting in two months earlier that day. He, former City Council President Nury Martinez, outgoing Councilmember Gil Cedillo, and a local labor leader were caught on leaked audio tape making racist remarks, disparaging colleagues, and planning to consolidate Latino political power in L.A.

Ms. Martinez has since stepped down, while Councilmember Cedillo, who lost an election in June, will leave office on Monday. Councilmember de Leon has apologized but has not resigned.

Now, both Councilmember de Leon and the activists have released their own versions of what transpired Friday night.

“A group of so-called ‘activists’ — who have been harassing my staff and me for over a year — cornered and physically assaulted me, a staff member, and a volunteer at a holiday event Friday evening,” Councilmember de Leon’s statement, released on Twitter, starts.

Councilmember de Leon then alleges that Mr. Reedy and other activists shouted obscenities, and, when Councilmember de Leon tried to leave, blocked the exits. 

From there, according to Councilmember de Leon’s statement, “Reedy launched a pelvic thrust, followed by a headbutt to my forehead … 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.”

Activist groups RootsAction and J-TOWN Action have since released a 35-second clip, which they say depicts the entirety of the altercation.

“Video footage clearly shows him and his supporters initiating this assault while Mr. Reedy stands prone. 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,” Mr. Reedy’s attorney Shakeer Rahman said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Describing Mr. Reedy’s version of events, Mr. Rahman told the Los Angeles Times that “Mr. Reedy was criticizing Kevin de León’s political record and echoing the widespread demands for him to resign. de León’s supporters then initiated physical contact by shoving him, and de León grabbed Mr. Reedy.”

Current L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian, who had previously called on de Leon to resign during the racism fracas and who had escorted de Leon out of the council meeting amidst a chorus of protests earlier on Friday, denounced the incident.

“No matter what disputes we may have with elected officials or our fellow citizens, violence like this is completely unacceptable,” City Council President Krekorian said in a statement to the L.A. Times.

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