An Occupy Sacramento protester has been accused of throwing a pie into the face of the city’s mayor. The suspect has been named as 32-year-old Sean Thompson. According to the SACPD, Thompson “assaulted” Mayor Kevin Johnson at an event on the evening of September 21. He’s facing charges of “assaulting a public official” and is being held at Sacramento County Jail. The press release adds that Thompson “sustained a minor injury” and was treated at a local hospital.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. One Witness Says Johnson Punched Thompson ‘Repeatedly’ in the Face
CBS Sacramento reports that Thompson hit Johnson “with a pie and fist.” An official spokesperson, Crystal Strait, told the Sacramento Bee, “Let me be clear, the mayor was assaulted tonight. He is home with his family…The whole thing is just shocking.” She added that the suspect “brought (the pie) with him. He pulled it out of a bag…It was a blur.” Strait also said, “The mayor just felt he was being punched in the face.” Another witness, Kitty O’Neal, told the Bee that she saw the mayor punch the assailant.
The East Bay Express’ Nick Miller reports that that witnesses saw the mayor punch the pie-thrower “repeatedly” and that the suspect was a “bloody pulp.” That report adds that afterwards, the mayor received applause from the crowd.
One of the attendees at the event, Sacramento High School’s Farm-To-Fork Seeds of Hope dinner, was UFC fighter Urijah Faber, reports ABC Sacramento. Faber told the station that Johnson “fought back” against his attacker. While Sacramento journalist Crisinta Mendonsa quoted a witness on Twitter as saying, “The Mayor took care of business.”
2. Thompson Was Arrested in 2011 As Part of Sacramento’s ‘Occupy’ Movement
In October 2011, Thompson was arrested, along with other protesters, as part of Sacramento’s version of the Occupy movement. The Sacramento City Express reports that at the time Thompson was “a biochemistry major and Associated Student Government senator at City College.” The website says that members of the group were arrested for staying in Cesar Chavez Park in the city after it had closed. Thompson said at the time:
The city police were very civil about it. We were both very accommodating to each other, but when we got to the county sheriff’s, they were rude and treated us like violent criminals.
They threatened us and called us names— absolutely unprofessional.
Thompson said in an interview about what inspired him to help start Occupy Sacramento, “I think everyone has been upset and disheartened because of the times, and when I saw the protests taking place in New York, I thought immediately something like that needs to happen everywhere, something needs to happen here.” His case was dismissed in December 2012. Thompson and his friends later attempted to sue the city of Sacramento over their treatment.
3. Homelessness Is One of Thompson’s Main Causes
During an interview with Capitol Weekly about the Occupy protests, Thompson express one of his major political concerns, “Personally, it would completely satisfy me if I could just see no one living on the streets of Sacramento. I think everyone has the right to a warm home, 24 hours.”
According to his Facebook page, Thompson is from Sacramento and is a graduate of city college and of Casa Roble Fundamental High. He describes himself as an “artist and philosopher” on his page.
The Sacramento Bee reported in February 2016 that Mayor Johnson was looking for funding to support a task force to deal with the city’s homeless problem. A month previously, KCRA reported that Johnson’s administration came in for criticism over their handling of a homeless protest outside city hall. In May 2016, the Bee reported that Johnson had missed a key meeting on the homeless issue.
4. Thompson’s Actions Have Garnered Him a Fanbase on Twitter
Since word of the pie-throwing became public, Thompson has been gaining fans and receiving plaudits on Twitter.
Here are some of the best messages about the incident:
5. The Mayor Is ‘Doing Fine’ Following the Altercation
The mayor was aided during the incident by a Sacramento police officer who was assigned to his detail, according to the official press release. Johnson tweeted after the incident, “Appreciate everyone. I’m doing fine. Thank you to Sac PD for being there. Be safe everyone.”