Chaos ensues when De León shows up at the LA City Council meeting

Chaos ensues when De León shows up at the LA City Council meeting

  • US News
  • December 9, 2022
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Councilor Kevin de León appeared at the Los Angeles City Council meeting Friday morning, appearing for the first time since the aftermath of a leaked racist tape rocked the city in mid-October.

He entered the council chamber just before 11 a.m., about 45 minutes into the session, and sat in his chair with a staff member nearby.

Dozens of people, many Spanish speakers, came to the meeting to show their support for De León. Some of them testified against proposals to impose new penalties on council members who, like De León, have been censored.

Council President Paul Krekorian approached and spoke to De León, then some of De León’s colleagues began to leave the room. A break was called when protesters expressed their disapproval.

The room quickly descended into chaos, with about a dozen protesters urging De León to leave and supporters of the embattled councilor chanting “Kevin, Kevin, Kevin.”

“You are allowing anti-blackness to take place,” shouted one viewer. “You are all involved in the destruction of LA,” shouted another.

While members of the crowd shouted at each other, police threw two men out of the room, saying they feared a fight would break out between them.

“Both men made comments or gestures to indicate it was going to be physical, so that’s when we intervened,” said Marco Duarte, a Los Angeles Police Department officer assigned to the Council Chamber.

De León last appeared publicly in the council chambers on October 11, when the council held its first session, after The Times reported leaked audio of a private conversation in 2021 between council members Gil Cedillo, Nury Martinez and De León and the then-president had by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Ron Herrera.

De León and Cedillo began this October council meeting by sitting in their chairs, but immediately became the subject of angry chants from the crowd and eventually left the room. Cedillo has not returned to a council meeting since.

LAPD officers stand guard during Friday's Los Angeles City Council meeting.

LAPD officers stand guard during Friday’s Los Angeles City Council meeting.

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

De León apologized after the tape but said he had no plans to step down and didn’t want to leave his constituents without representation. In the weeks since last appearing in council chambers, attending luncheons and other community events, he has quietly begun to make public appearances again.

Virtually the entire Democratic establishment called on Cedillo and De León to resign in the wake of the audio leak. The other two participants in the secretly recorded conversation, former Council President Martinez and Herrera, resigned from their posts immediately after the leak.

Protesters have had a constant presence at council meetings in recent months, with frequent chants promising to continue suspending meetings until both Cedillo and De León step down. They also camped at De León for days.

Cedillo was ousted by new council member Eunisses Hernandez in a June election, and Friday is his last council meeting before his term expires. But De León has two more years in office.

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