A woman who frequently protests during Los Angeles City Council meetings has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with an altercation that broke out at City Hall this week, police said.
Police said Camile Lewis, 44, got into an argument with another meeting attendee shortly before Friday’s council meeting. During that dispute, Lewis hit the man in the face with a bag that had a laptop in it, causing a “small laceration to the victim’s left check,” LAPD Officer J. Chaves said.
After being struck, “the victim punched the suspect twice in the body before the suspect fled on foot,” he said.
Police said paramedics were called to the building to treat the victim, who had been in the hallway outside the council chamber when the dispute broke out.
Officers apprehended Lewis at the corner of Temple and Spring Streets, not far from City Hall, and arrested her on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Chaves said.
Lewis did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. The incident is the latest example of the unruly behavior that has been occurring before, during and after council meetings.
On Tuesday, moments after the council voted to allow the Los Angeles Police Department to accept a donation of a robot dog, someone scrawled antipolice graffiti with marker on the walls and doorways outside the council chamber. An officer near the mayor’s office confronted the vandalism suspect, prompting him to flee down a stairwell.
Officers tried to apprehend the suspect a few minutes later as he attempted to exit the building’s Main Street lobby. The suspect ran up a staircase and into the City Hall parking garage, with officers chasing after him. He got away after running out another exit and onto Temple Street, according to police.
LAPD Sgt. Dennis Clark, who is assigned to City Hall, said police believe the vandalism suspect spoke during the council’s public comment period earlier in the day. The incident is being treated as a felony vandalism case, since city crews will likely need to sandblast a limestone surface where some of the graffiti was scrawled, he said.
Another City Hall visitor was arrested three weeks ago, after audience members disrupted a Cinco de Mayo presentation given by Councilmember Kevin de León during a council meeting.
Audience members have jeered and yelled at De León since October, when secretly recorded audio of him and other elected officials was made public. The taped conversation featured racist and derogatory remarks.
During the Cinco de Mayo presentation, Council President Paul Krekorian called for the protesters to be removed. Minutes later, police arrested one of the protesters on suspicion of battery on a police officer and obstructing a public business establishment.
Police said the suspect slammed the door to the council chamber as he walked out, striking Clark in the head.
Another audience member disputed that narrative, saying the audience member had simply closed the door behind him.
Source: LA Times