LOS ANGELES - Kevin de León is once again at the center of controversy.
In the social media video, where it doesn't show the entire incident, de León is seen slamming a man in a green jacket into a table, causing the City Councilman's Santa Claus hat to fly off his head.
According to de León, a group of so-called "activists," who have been harassing him and his staff for the past year, cornered and physically assaulted him, a staff member and a volunteer. In a statement, de León said his response to the attack was to defend himself.
On Monday, days after the Dec. 9 incident, de León released a video showing the moments when the man in the green jacket throw a punch:
Below is a statement released by de León's office following the incident:
"Jason Reedy and his accomplices started by shouting obscenities and disrupting a community toy giveaway and tree lighting ceremony already underway. I decided to try to exit the event to draw the disrupters away from the attending families and children and leave without further incident. Still, we discovered Reedy and others had blocked all available exits.
Once we were able to push open a door and try to get out, Reedy launched a pelvic thrust, followed by a headbutt to my forehead. My response, in defense of myself, was to push him off of me. In the ensuing struggle, Reedy struck me in the face with a closed fist, violently elbowed a female staff member, and injured a volunteer in front of horrified parents and children.
The escalating political rhetoric is beyond unacceptable, now turning verbal threats into physical acts of violence. It’s a dangerous pattern that must end before more serious harm or loss of life occurs. Leaders must collectively step up to curb rising hostilities towards staff and elected officials. In no way is violence a form of free speech and acts like these have no place in politics or democracy."
A different posted Saturday shows the moments leading up to the physical altercation. Several people gathered around de León and shouted "resign Kevin, resign Kevin" as he was walking away. De León and Jason Reedy, the man in the green jacket, then walk through a door and a physical altercation occurs.
Reedy's attorney sent FOX 11 the following statement over the weekend:
"Kevin de León and his supporters assaulted Mr. Reedy for voicing criticism of Kevin de León at a public event, echoing the widespread demands for him to resign. De León's supporters initiated physical contact by shoving him, and De León himself grabbed Mr. Reedy. Mr. Reedy had his hands up and did not initiate physical contact with anyone. Mr. Reedy has reported the assault to LAPD."
According to LAPD, officers from the Hollenbeck Division arrived to the scene after reports of a large fight. The police department released the following statement:
"While participating in a local community event, Councilmember De Leon was approached by multiple community members, who blocked his path of travel as he attempted to leave the building. It was during this encounter that an allegation was made of one male, identified as Jason Reedy, headbutting, pushing, and punching Councilmember De Leon. Councilmember De Leon and Reedy continued the altercation outside of the building, where Reedy left before officers’ arrival."
Police say de León filed a battery report on scene and Reedy filed on later at a police station.
The holiday fight comes just hours after de León was met with jeers and protests in his first appearance at a City Council meeting in months. Prior to his return to public spotlight, de León, then-City Council president Nury Martinez and Councilman Gil Cedillo were all involved in leaked audio of a conversation with racist comments.
The release of the leaked audio led to protests and Martinez stepping down from the City Council all together. Cedillo's term with the City Council ends Monday, December 11.