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No charges filed in De León fight with activist: Neither is happy

Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León and the activist with whom he got into a physical altercation late last year both criticized the city attorney Wednesday after it was announced that no criminal charges would be filed over their fight at a community event.

Authorities decided last week not to press charges against activist Jason Reedy, who was involved in the caught-on-video kerfuffle, Reedy and De León confirmed to The Times on Wednesday. Reedy said he learned during a telephone hearing that there would be no charges against himself or De León. The news was first reported by Knock LA reporter Jon Peltz.

“I’m relieved I’m not being charged as I was the one that was assaulted and attacked,” Reedy said. “I am absolutely disappointed to see that the city attorney did not feel the need to charge Kevin de León, but it is what it is at this point.”

De León echoed Reedy’s disappointment over the lack of charges — though in the reverse — saying the city attorney put “politics over public safety.”

“I’m very disappointed in [City Atty.] Hydee Feldstein Soto’s decision not to prosecute Jason Reedy,” he said in a statement. “He assaulted a woman on my staff, a community member and me at a children’s Christmas toy giveaway.”

The melee erupted at a Lincoln Park toy giveaway and holiday event on Dec. 9 — the same day De León infuriated protesters by making his first appearance at a City Council meeting following the leak of an audio recording that revealed him and other politicians in a conversation that featured racist and derogatory remarks.

Video from the event shows a Santa-hat-wearing De León being mobbed by activists — including Reedy. The activists were recording and yelling at De León, including calling him a racist. As De León attempted to exit a main room into a back area, someone pushed Reedy out of the way of the door, the video shows.

De León exited the room and tried to close the door behind him, but Reedy followed, and the two stood chest to chest for a moment, Reedy with his hands up, the video shows. Crowded by others, a brief struggle began. De León grabbed Reedy and pushed him, throwing him into a table.

The councilman placed the blame on Reedy and other activists in a statement at the time, saying he was “violently and physically assaulted by self-proclaimed activists at a community holiday event.”

“The escalating rhetoric is hitting a fever pitch, transcending from verbal threats into actual acts of violence and must end before more serious harm or loss of life occurs,” the statement said. “Violence is not free speech and has no place in politics or democracy.”

An aide to De León and another person at the toy giveaway also told police that they were hit by Reedy, according to a copy of a police report obtained by The Times. One said Reedy punched him in the hand three times. The other said Reedy elbowed her in the face. Reedy, through his lawyer, denied hitting her.

“We did not observe any visible injuries on any of the victims,” officers wrote in the report.

The city attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment. Reedy, for his part, renewed his call for the council member to step down over his participation in the secretly recorded conversation.

Asked about De León’s statement, Reedy said video of the toy giveaway incident “speaks for itself.”

“In his world, everyone is to blame except himself,” Reedy said in a text message to The Times. “And for once, he should take responsibility for his despicable actions.”

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