The mayor of Antioch Lamar Thorpe say he was punched and has eyewitnesses, at an incident that happened at, of all places, an Antioch Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
The big midterm elections are less than two weeks out, and even with regards to local elections, tensions are running high both here and across the country. But things seem to be exceptionally contentious in the Contra Costa County city of Antioch, where KTVU reports Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe says he was punched after giving a speech, and he has eyewitnesses backing up his version of events.
Upping the cray factor to all this, the alleged punches were thrown at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce State of Business luncheon at the Lone Tree Golf and Event Centre.
"I can confirm that the reports of my being punched at an event today are true," Thorpe said in an official statement, according to KTVU. "After giving a speech at a luncheon hosted by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, I was aggressively approached by an older white male in his late 50s. When it became clear that he was seeking a confrontation, I asked him to leave.”
"As I attempted to walk away, the man punched me in the chest and was attempting to punch me a second time, but was not able to land his blow,” the statement continues. “Bystanders intervened to help me. Although shaken up, I am doing well."
KGO went beyond the statement and spoke to Thorpe directly. "Gentleman hit me like that, some type of altercation earlier, very disappointing experience. I was exceptionally blown away by his behavior," said Thorpe.
At least one eyewitness has spoken to the press, confirming Thorpe’s version of events. "It just happened instantly,” Antioch District 1 Councilmember Tamisha Torres-Walker told KGO. “He raised up his hand and just shoved the mayor really hard under his neck, and then before we could react, me and the other lady who was there, the gentleman raised his hand again and the mayor grabbed his wrist. I was like, 'Wow he really just attacked the mayor.'"
There are undercurrents at play here which may or may not be related to the alleged attack. Thorpe has been on something of a mission to eliminate police chokeholds, putting him very much at odds with Antioch PD. On the other hand, Thorpe is embroiled in a sexual harassment allegation scandal from before he was in office. And for good measure, Thorpe got a DUI in March of this year. The punch might be related to one of these things, or it might be just good old fashioned racism, or some other dispute entirely.
And we have to parse these words from KGO’s report, which says, “We were unable to speak with the man accused of attacking the mayor and at this point, police haven't said if they've made contact with him.” So, do KGO and the Antioch PD know who the suspect is? This is all vague, and could throw another very odd swing into the local elections coming up.
Related: Richmond Mayor Witnesses BART Attack, Calls Out Nearby Workers As 'Uninterested' [SFist]
Image: @LamarThorpe via Twitter