During a community celebration of “Farm-to-Fork Week” on Wednesday, Sacramento, California Mayor Kevin Johnson repeatedly punched a protester in the face for throwing a pie in the mayor’s face.
According to local paper, East Bay Express, multiple sources confirmed that the mayor, who is a former NBA star and a UC Berkeley basketball alum, body tackled the protester and assaulted him in what was referred to as a “bloody brawl.”
Those at the event told the Express that a protester ran at the mayor and threw a pie into his face during the event. One attendee stated that the pie was topped with whipped cream.
According to reports, the protester said something to the mayor, which went unheard by the others there, inciting the mayor to tackle him to the ground and punch him in the face several times. Reports say the mayor landed “five to 10 blows.”
A bystander described him as a “bloody pulp” after the mayor beat him, and other witnesses say that there was visible blood and that the man will most likely need stitches.
Ambulances and the fire department were called to the scene, and the Sacramento Police issued a statement regarding the suspect. The protester, 32-year-old Sean Thompson, was charged with felony assault of a public official and arrested.
Sacramento Police spokesman, Sgt. Bryce Heinlein, confirmed that there was an altercation between the mayor and the suspect that occurred after the mayor was hit with the pie around 6:45 p.m. He told the Express:
‘The mayor did strike the suspect after he was assaulted.’
The suspect was beaten pretty badly and sported a cut above his eye, as seen in the booking photo. Thompson was treated at a local hospital after the brawl.
Mayor Johnson was questioned by police after the altercation, but the report has not yet been released.
The “Farm-to-Fork” event drew 200 attendees, including some of the city’s top restaurateurs. After the incident, the mayor changed clothes and addressed the crowd, apologizing, and bringing UFC fighter Urijah Faber up to the podium to joke about the assault.
Protesters have been criticizing Johnson due to sexual misconduct allegations, wherein he was accused of molesting teen girls, forcing the mayor to decline from running for a third term. He was also booed at a Hillary Clinton event at a nearby college.
The assailant, Thompson, was formerly an activist with the Occupy Sacramento movement, and has engaged the mayor in the past. This included an incident in 2011 when Thompson spoke at a city council meeting where tensions were high, and Thompson was close to being removed by police until Mayor Johnson waved them off.
Johnson tweeted a short post about the incident to his Twitter page on Wednesday evening.
Appreciate everyone. I'm doing fine. Thank you to Sac PD for being there. Be safe everyone.
— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) September 22, 2016
Some responders were less than sympathetic.
dude it was a pie. like in a cartoon.
— _ "Snark" Thompson (@_MarkThompson) September 22, 2016
— kirk murphy (@kirkmurphy) September 22, 2016
Feature image via Getty Images