LA Councilmember Kevin de León involved in fight during holiday event, video shows

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Sunday, December 11, 2022
LA Councilman Kevin de León involved in fight during holiday event
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Video has surfaced that shows Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León involved in a fight during a holiday event in Lincoln Heights.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Video has surfaced that shows Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León involved in a fight during a holiday event in Lincoln Heights on Friday.

According to de León's office, the councilman was head-butted by a man prior to the altercation, and a staff member and a volunteer were also assaulted in the incident.

"This evening a staff member, volunteer, and I 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," de León said in a statement.

Footage shows de León grabbing and pushing the man in the 10-second clip. The group who posted the video to Twitter alleges de León was assaulting the organizer. However, de Leon's office says the video is misleading.

RELATED: Embattled LA Councilman Kevin de León attends city meeting after scandal

The councilman's camp says de León was handing out toys to children at a community center when a group confronted him in an aggressive way. De León tried to get away from the group, and he was head-butted by the man prior to the video being taken, his office says.

A staff member was elbowed in the face during the incident. After the video surfaced, de León spoke to Eyewitness News about the altercation.

"What the video doesn't capture, most conveniently, is he thrusted his pelvis into me and then he head-butted me right into the head," de León said. "When he head-butted me is when I grabbed him and put him on the table - I held him on the table there for maybe five to 10 seconds.

"Then at that moment I let him go. Another melee ensued. He turned the corner, he threw a punch at me - a full blown punch, hit me right in the face, threw a second punch at me, missed me."

The man seen being grabbed by de León was identified as Jason Reedy. An attorney for Reedy released the following statement:

"Kevin de Leon is a disgrace. Video footage clearly shows him and his supporters initiating this assault while Mr. Reedy stands with his hands up. Not only has Kevin de Leon lost all political legitimacy, his claims that he was the one attacked here simply underscores how he's lost touch with reality."

A police report was filed, and the video posted is now a part of a police investigation. No one was taken into custody.

In new video obtained by Eyewitness News Saturday, Reedy is seen walking in front of de León holding a phone. He claims the video contradicts de León's claims that Reedy or others initiated the fight.

"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," de León's statement said. "Violence is not free speech and has no place in politics or democracy."

Earlier in the day, De León attended his first City Council meeting in nearly two months since a recording surfaced of former council President Nury Martinez, outgoing Councilman Gil Cedillo, de León and a labor union leader participating in a closed-door meeting in which racist language was used to mock colleagues while the participants schemed to protect Latino political strength in council districts.

Dozens of people showed up to support de León, while others protested his appearance and shouted for him to leave.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.