Stephen Ellison

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Scuffles With Pie-Throwing Protester

Former NBA and Cal basketball star defended himself after getting a pie in the face at a dinner event

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson scuffled with a protester armed with a pie Wednesday night, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor's office.

"He was defending himself," said spokeswoman Crystal Strait, who was attending the same dinner event where the attack occurred. "The man came up to him and grabbed his arm and basically punched him with a pie. The mayor was defending himself and his family. He felt threatened."

After the protester, identified as 32-year-old Sean Thompson, threw a store-bought pie in the mayor's face, he said something to Johnson, which prompted the mayor to tackle Thompson and strike him, Strait said.

The incident prompted calls for ambulances and the fire department to the scene.

Erika Bjork, a witness, said the former NBA star was standing near her at Wednesday night's outdoor event at Sacramento Charter High School when he was hit.

Bjork said the mayor looked shocked and swung at the man multiple times, but she didn't see him land any punches. She said Johnson then wrestled the man to the ground, and mayoral staff and a police officer pinned him down.

A Sacramento police officer assigned to the mayor’s security detail called for additional assistance and was able to restrain the assailant without incident, according to the Sacramento Police Department.

Thompson sustained a minor injury and was transported by the Sacramento Fire Department to a local hospital for treatment, police said.

Johnson sent a tweet at 10:12 p.m. saying, "Appreciate everyone. I'm doing fine. Thank you to Sac PD for being there. Be safe everyone."

Thompson was arrested on a felony charge of assaulting a public official and will be booked into the Sacramento County Jail.

He was not immediately available for comment and it was not clear if he had a lawyer.

There were nearly 200 people, including high school students, attending the  event.

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