California lawmakers get into violent resort brawl at convention on how to tackle public crises

Local government officials in California ended up in a physical brawl while attending a seminar at an upscale resort over the weekend.

“It was a hectic scene,” one bystander told the Los Angeles Times about what broke out on Saturday morning.


Various government officials and vendors showed up at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa and a physical fight between at least seven people eventually broke out, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Attendees of the event included elected officials from Los Angeles and members of the Commerce City Council. Police are reportedly still trying to get the story straight of how exactly the fight broke out and who was involved. They have had to deal with uncooperative witnesses in their investigation.

Deputy Mike Vasquez could only reveal that seven people were involved in the fight and at least one was left unconscious. Vasquez said on Sunday that there had been no arrests so far and the department did not consider the incident to be “breaking news.”

“I want to be clear in condemning the violent behavior from the individuals who initiated these assaults,” Commerce Mayor John Soria said about the incident in a public statement. “Once additional information is available, I intend to call on my council colleagues to take appropriate action regarding any individuals that represent the City of Commerce who were involved in the incident.”

Soria recalled that he was told at the event that City of Commerce Councilman Leonard Mendoza and colleague Ivan Altamirano were in a heated argument and Soria went to approach the two men to see what was going on. When he got there, Mendoza was lying on the ground and Altamirano appeared to have been hit in the face. Soira said he and Altamirano were then attacked from behind and punched multiple times.

Soria says he and Altamirano plan on filing charges.

“I know who the attackers are,” Soira said in his public statement, though he refused to identify them by name.

“It must’ve been one of those things where I got knocked out with one punch,” Mendoza told the Los Angeles Times about what he recalls before ending up on the ground.

Mendoza revealed that Altamirano interrupted a conversation he was having, which led him to ask the man to step back — hence the heated argument Soira recalled.

“I guess he didn’t like that and it got heated and it got loud,” said Mendoza of his disagreement with Altamirano.

Ironically, the public officials were meeting at a California Contract Cities Assn. seminar, which is a seminar on how to deal with public crises.

The City of Commerce’s official Twitter account acknowledged the physical brawl, but shed no further light on the situation.

“The City has been made aware of reports of a confrontation between some City officials that took place outside of the City’s jurisdiction. Given that, and the fact that the City is unclear on the specifics, the City has no further comment at this time,” they tweeted over the weekend.


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