City Hall protester is arrested for allegedly assaulting a man outside the council chambers

Los Angeles, CA - March 07: Audience member voices opposition to the donation of an unmanned quadruped vehicle

Camile Lewis, pictured center, spoke out in March against the city’s plan to accept the donation of a ‘robot dog’ to the LAPD. On Friday, she was arrested on suspicion of assaulting another frequent member of the public at council meetings. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

A woman who frequently protests at 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 say Camile Lewis, 44, got into an argument with another meeting attendee shortly before Friday’s council meeting. During that argument, Lewis punched the man in the face with a bag containing a laptop, causing a “small laceration to the victim’s left check,” LAPD Officer J. Chaves said.

After being hit, “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 was in the hallway outside the council chambers when the argument 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 unruly behavior that has occurred before, during and after council meetings.

On Tuesday, moments after the council voted to allow the Los Angeles Police Department to accept the donation of a robot dog, someone scribbled anti-police graffiti with a marker on the walls and doors outside the council chamber. An officer near the mayor’s office confronted the vandalism suspect, prompting him to flee down a stairwell.

Officers attempted to apprehend the suspect minutes later as he attempted to exit the building’s Main Street lobby. The suspect ran up a flight of stairs and into the City Hall parking lot, with officers in pursuit. He escaped after running down another exit and onto Temple Street, police said.

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 case of criminal vandalism, as city crews will likely have to sandblast a limestone surface where some graffiti was scrawled, he said.

Another City Hall visitor was arrested three weeks ago after onlookers interrupted a Cinco de Mayo presentation given by council member Kevin de León during a council meeting.

Members of the public have been jeering and shouting at De León since October, when the secret audio recording of him and other lawmakers was made public. The recorded conversation included racist and derogatory remarks.

During the Cinco de Mayo presentation, Council President Paul Krekorian called for the protesters to withdraw. Minutes later, police arrested one of the protesters on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and obstructing a public business establishment.

Police said the suspect slammed the door to the council chambers on his way out, hitting Clark in the head.

Another audience member disputed this account, saying the audience member simply closed the door behind him.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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