WATCH: L.A. City Council Democrat Kevin de León in Fight at Holiday Party

Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de León, formerly the president pro tempore of the California State Senate, engaged in fisticuffs with an activist at a holiday party Friday, shocking children and families present.

The incident, which took place at a Christmas tree lighting in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, was described by the Los Angeles Times:

The council member said in a statement that he was assaulted. Activists said De León was the aggressor.

A video posted on Twitter on Saturday by RootsAction shows activists walking alongside De León inside the event calling on him to resign while Jason Reedy, an organizer with the People’s City Council, stands in front of the councilman holding his phone in his face. When De León reaches a door, someone pushes Reedy out of the way.

The video shows De León going through the door into a back room and trying to close it. But Reedy follows him and the councilman appears to push him back. Reedy, holding his arms up, stands nose-to-nose with De León as others mob the pair. There’s a brief struggle, then De León grabs Reedy, throws him into a table and attempts to push him out of the room.

Local Fox affiliate KTTV-11 quoted dueling statements by de León and the activists. De León said:

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.

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