LA's Kevin De Leon Fistfighting Constituents Now, It's All Going Just Super!

State/Local Politics
LA's Kevin De Leon Fistfighting Constituents Now, It's All Going Just Super!

Los Angeles City Council Member Kevin de León got into a tussle last week with a community activist at a holiday event. There was a toy giveaway, tree lighting, plus bonus fisticuffs.CNN obtained video that appears to show de León shoving local organizer Jason Reedy into a table and down the hallway. The two men are out of frame after that, so it's uncertain if any chestnuts were roasted.

It's been a hectic, scandal-packed few months for de León. The Los Angeles Timespublished leaked audio in October of De León swapping bigoted remarks with now-former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez. De León compared a colleague's Black son to a designer handbag. Martinez, whose comments were more consistently racist and vile, has since resigned. De León resisted public calls — including from Gov. Gavin Newsom and also Old Handsome Joe Biden — to also GTFO.

If De León thought he could ride out the unpleasant incident, he was wrong. A crowd had surrounded de León at the holiday event, following him through an exit and demanding his resignation. Scrooge received better public receptions. The video shows Reedy confronting de León and getting in his face. Reedy calls de León a racist, which seems to trigger him like Will Smith. That's when de León pushed Reedy ... or assaulted him. A jury will probably have the final say.

De León is wearing a Santa hat during all of this.


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De León describes the encounter like a blubbering child explaining his side of the story to his skeptical parents. The rehearsed specificity is downright entertaining.

“Once we were able to push open a door and try to get out, Reedy launched a pelvic thrust, " he said, and it apparently drove him insane. This was "followed by a head butt to my forehead. My response, in defense of myself, was to push him off of me.”

Let's go to the actual video, shall we? (CNN's Nick Watt's narration is awesome. He's like a Scottish Howard Cosell.)

Reedy provided the video to the Los Angeles Police Department and accused de León of assault. His attorney, Shakeer Rahman, said, "Video footage clearly shows [de León] and his supporters initiating this assault while Mr. Reedy stands with his hands up. 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."

De Leon gave a disastrous CNN interview where he insisted he’s absolutely not the kind of person who participates in racist conversations and beats up constituents. It’s all on tape! He probably should’ve worn the Santa hat.

The festive throw down only renewed public demand for de León's resignation, but it doesn't seem like a Christmas gift he's willing to deliver. There was an LA City Council meeting with new members, and when de León arrived, he received the Elon Musk hello. Some members dramatically rose from their seats and walked out. De León spoke privately with new Council President Paul Krekorian for about 20 minutes while protesters verbally expressed their disgust. There were reportedly chants of "Arrest de León!" Once he eventually left, there was much applause. He's not very popular, but there reportedly were a few de León supporters present. There's no accounting for taste. People like the Star Wars prequels, after all.

Reedy has regularly joined the protesters who've shown up at past council meetings and called for de León's resignation. De León was formally censured after the Martinez tapes dropped, but that's mostly ceremonial and carries no real penalty.

Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez tweeted that the seasonal scuffle is just another example of the behavior that disqualifies De León to lead. "For our City to heal he must do the right thing and resign."

Maybe three spirits can steer De León in the right direction.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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