Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson punched a man who smashed a pie in his face at a fundraiser on Wednesday evening.
The altercation took place at a dinner at a Sacramento charter school. According to East Bay Express’ Nick Miller, witnesses said a protester ran up to Johnson during the meal and slammed a pie in his face. Johnson then reportedly tackled the man and punched him in the face multiple times, beating him to a “bloody pulp,” as one witness described it.
Johnson’s chief of staff, Crystal Strait, described the incident to The Huffington Post as an assault on the mayor, and confirmed that Johnson did respond physically.
“Last night at a school charity event with his family, the mayor was grabbed from behind and struck with what we afterwards learned was a pie from an unknown man,” said Strait, who was at the event. “He reacted like most people do when attacked by an unknown object while surrounded by people he cares about, and took the man down until police could detain him.”
Johnson was not significantly injured during the incident.
Sacramento police later identified the protester as Sean Thompson. Thompson was arrested on felony charges of assaulting a public official and booked at the Sacramento County Jail. Police said he “sustained a minor injury” and was treated at a local hospital.
Thompson’s mug shot shows bruising and stitches around one eye:
He was previously arrested in connection with Occupy protests in 2011.
Johnson, a former NBA All-Star and point guard for the Phoenix Suns, has served two terms as mayor of California’s capital city. He’s faced intense scrutiny over the last year as multiple women have come forward accusing him of sexually abusing them in the mid-1990s. As Deadspin reported in September 2015, one woman said Johnson molested her when she was 16 years old and then offered her thousands of dollars to keep quiet.
Johnson has denied the allegations.
Last year, he announced he would not seek a third term in office.
“At the end of the day, I felt that I wanted to make a decision that was in the best interest of Sacramento,” Johnson said.