Friday, September 23, 2016

Man who hit mayor with pie says it was ‘least violent action I could take’ | The Sacramento Bee

Man who hit mayor with pie says it was ‘least violent action I could take’ | The Sacramento Bee:

Man who hit mayor with pie says it was ‘least violent action I could take’

The man who hit Kevin Johnson in the face with a coconut cream pie Wednesday night said he told the Sacramento mayor before the attack that “he has to do better to represent the people.”
In an interview at the Sacramento County jail Thursday afternoon, Sean Thompson, 32, said for the past eight years, the mayor has focused his actions mainly on the new arena and the strong-mayor initiative.

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“He had a lot of opportunities to help people and he hasn’t taken any of them,” Thompson said.
Johnson was hit in the face with a pie at a benefit dinner at Sacramento Charter High School, and got into a brief physical altercation with his assailant.
“Let me be clear, the mayor was assaulted,” said Johnson spokeswoman Crystal Strait.
Thompson said that he has been an activist for four years, he has been arrested multiple times and always remained peaceful but said he felt like he hasn’t accomplished much.
Asked why he resorted to a violent act, Thompson said, “Pie throwing was the least violent action I could take.”
Thompson, 32, was arrested on a felony charge of assaulting a public official and misdemeanor charge of battery on school property, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s website. He was booked into the Sacramento County Jail at midnight.
In a booking photo released by the Sacramento Police Department, Thompson appeared to have two sets of stitches around his left eye.
“During the assault, the subject sustained a minor injury and was transported by the Sacramento Fire Department to a local hospital for treatment,” the police statement said.
Strait said the mayor was talking to dinner guests when a man approached him from the side, grabbed him by the arm, yanked him off balance and slammed a pie into his face.
“He brought (the pie) with him. He pulled it out of a bag,” she said.

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 Asked if he would do it again, Thompson said, “Absolutely. I would do it twice.”

Johnson’s glasses were knocked from his face, said Erika Bjork, a witness who was a few feet away when the incident occurred.
Bjork said she was sitting at a table at the event as Johnson and his wife, Michelle Rhee, approached to greet guests seated near her. She said Johnson was talking to a couple across the table from her and was about to pose for a photograph when he was struck.
Bjork, a spokeswoman for Sacramento Republic FC who was attending the event on the club’s behalf, said Thompson did not say anything to the mayor before the incident.
Johnson confronted Thompson and the pair “scuffled in the dirt,” Bjork said. She said she saw Johnson swing his arm, but that “there was not a bunch of punches thrown. He struck back in some way. This was not like some bloody punch-fest.” Strait confirmed that Johnson hit Thompson.
The mayor’s security guard, a Sacramento police officer, and others jumped into the scuffle. Thompson was handcuffed by the security guard and restrained for a few minutes until more police officers and a fire truck arrived, Bjork said.
Strait said a member of the mayor’s staff also intervened and received a minor injury.
Sgt. Bryce Heinlein, a Sacramento police spokesman, said Johnson was questioned by police officers on the scene. He said the full report – including Johnson’s statement and witness accounts – will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office.
Heinlein said he does not expect Johnson to be charged “based on witness statements and the totality of the circumstances.” He said the mayor was “taken by surprise by the assault.”
Strait said Johnson didn’t realize he was being hit with a pie. “The mayor just felt he was being punched in the face,” she said.
“Let me be clear, the mayor was assaulted tonight,” Strait said Wednesday night. “He is home with his family…The whole thing is just shocking.”
Bjork said many of the roughly 200 guests at the event were not aware of what happened until several minutes later.
Johnson was given a sweatshirt to change into. After the mayor and Rhee spoke with police, Johnson addressed the audience. UFC fighter Urijah Faber was in attendance, and Bjork said Johnson jokingly asked “Where were you, man?” Johnson then posed for a group photograph with many of the students and chefs who attended the event.
The incident has sparked strong opinions online, with some arguing that Johnson overreactedMan who hit mayor with pie says it was ‘least violent action I could take’ | The Sacramento Bee:

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