Brawl breaks out during meeting of California government officials

A meeting of local government officials from across California turned violent over the weekend when a brawl broke out, according to city officials.

Commerce, Calif., Mayor John Soria said in a written statement that the fight began with a physical altercation between City of Commerce Mayor Pro Tem Ivan Altamtrano and Councilmember Leonard Mendoza early Saturday morning at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort, in Indian Wells, California.

Prior to the altercation, Soria said he was informed that a conversation between Mendoza and Altamirano became "elevated" leading him to try "to defuse any potential conflict," according to his statement.

Soria said that when he went to assist, he saw Mendoza "apparently unconscious" on the floor and Altamirano standing nearby, nursing an apparent facial injury.

It is unclear what had happened in the altercation, but Mendoza told the Los Angeles Times that shortly following the argument he felt a blow from behind and awoke in the hospital. He said he did not know who struck him.

Within seconds, Soria said he and Altamirano were attacked by two individuals from behind.

"Altamirano was knocked to the ground and I was further attacked by these two individuals," Soria said in this statement. "Being punched several times on the head and face from which I sustained multiple injuries."

Soria said he plans on filing a police report and intends on pressing charges against his attackers.

"I know who the attackers are, but I will restrain from naming them at this time so that the Riverside County Sheriffs Department can conduct a thorough Investigation," Soria added.

"I want to be clear in condemning the violent behavior from the individuals who initiated these assaults. Violence is never the answer, and as elected officials, we are held to a higher standard. Unfortunately, several individuals clearly did not live up to that standard during this incident. Such behavior is unacceptable and is an embarrassment to the people of Commerce and Southeast Los Angeles," said Soria. "Once additional information is available, I intend to call on my council colleagues to take appropriate action regarding any individuals that represent the City of Commerce who were involved in the incident."

In a statement posted on Twitter, the City of Commerce said, "The City has been made aware of reports of a confrontation between some City officials that took place outside of the City's jurisdiction. Given that, and the fact that the City is unclear on the specifics, the City has no further comment at this time."

No charges have been filed at this time.