Man arrested for allegedly disturbing LA Council meeting
LOS ANGELES - A June 2 arraignment has been set for a man who was arrested for disrupting a Los Angeles City Council meeting after being warned multiple times by Council President Paul Krekorian — and eventually ejected.
Samson Tafolo, 30, who is a regular protester at council meetings, was arrested Friday morning after Krekorian repeatedly warned him to remain silent and seated while Councilman Kevin de León made a presentation honoring Cinco de Mayo.
De León is a frequent target of protesters at council meetings for his participation in a secretly recorded conversation last year with two other now former council members and a labor leader during which racist comments were made. Former City Council President Nury Martinez resigned in the scandal, and former council member Gil Cedillo, lost his bid for re-election, but de León has resisted calls to step down.
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Tafolo, identified by friends as a homeless Skid Row organizer, was charged with an unspecified misdemeanor and released Friday afternoon on his own recognizance.
Police said he may also face a battery charge for possibly slamming the Council Chamber door on a police officer.
During the meeting, Tafolo was seen shouting and criticizing de León, and Krekorian asked officers in the chamber to escort him out, pursuant to council rules.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Dennis Clark said that as he and other officers escorted Tafolo out of the City Council chamber, he paused at the door, prompting Clark to approach him and warn him to leave.
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Clark said that as Tafolo left, he took a step to follow when the door slammed into the sergeant.
Clark was treated at the scene for his injures by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel and said he was OK. He also said Tafolo was taken to the Central Community Police Station for processing, and that officers would be reviewing video to see whether he slammed the door.
As Tafolo was being booked, officers discovered that he was in possession of what appeared to be a pink comb. However, when the handle was pulled from the head of the comb, a dagger was revealed, police said.
"Today's disruption of the Cinco de Mayo presentation was shameful and disrespectful, embarrassing the city in front of foreign dignitaries who traveled from Mexico to celebrate with members of our local Poblano community being recognized by the City Council for the very first time," De León spokesperson Pete Brown told the Los Angeles Times.
Clark said this was the third arrest at a City Council meeting this year.