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 occurred at a toy giveaway and holiday tree lighting at 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 aggressor.
The Times reported two local activist organizations, RootsAction and J-TOWN Action and Solidarity, posted a video on Twitter showing a portion of the incident between De León and a man identified as Jason Reedy, a People’s City Council organizer.
De León’s office said Reedy and other activists were at fault. De León spokesperson Pete Brown said the council member was head-butted by Reedy, a member of his staff was elbowed in the face and a volunteer was 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 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” in a statement to the Times Friday night.
“Video footage clearly shows him and his supporters initiating this assault while Mr. Reedy stands prone,” Rahman said. “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.”
Earlier on Friday, De León attended his first City Council meeting in nearly two months following a scandal over racist remarks by elected officials.