On Friday evening, more than 100 children and their parents were gathered at Lincoln Park for a tree-lighting celebration. Parents took videos of their daughters performing in pink tutus inside the auditorium. Children played in a snow pit outside. The DJ played “Christmas Is Here” and other holiday songs. On stage, Councilmember Kevin de León, who wore a Santa hat, was handing out gifts to children when a handful of activists entered.
What happened next swept everyone in the room into the maelstrom that is Los Angeles politics in late 2022. Over the next 10 minutes, five activists chased De León around the auditorium, loudly calling him racist and telling him to resign. Cornered in a back room, De León shoved one of the activists, Jason Reedy, into a table and pushed him down a hallway, losing his Santa hat in the process. Reedy responded by punching De León at least once. The evening ended with both De León and Reedy filing police reports alleging that they were battered by the other — and children in tears at the violent altercation they had witnessed.
It was another civic low in what has been a series of them over the past two months, ever since De León was caught on a leaked racist audiotape that roiled the city. De León — the only one of three council members on the recording who will still be in office this week — has faced immense pressure to step down, with frequent protests outside his home and at City Hall.