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Wednesday 7 December 2016

American pie: City mayor fights back after being targeted at charity event

Published 22/09/2016 | 07:51

Kevin Johnson had a long career as an NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns (AP)
Kevin Johnson had a long career as an NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns (AP)

The mayor of Sacramento - a former basketball star - has fought back after being hit in the face with a pie at a charity dinner.

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Kevin Johnson, mayor of Sacramento, California, had given a speech at the Seeds of HOPE dinner at Sacramento Charter High School before a man came up and shoved the pie into his face, the mayor's chief of staff Crystal Strait said.

She said the mayor defended himself against the man, but would not give details.

Police arrested a 32-year-old man, Sean Thompson, on suspicion of assaulting a public official. Thompson was treated for a minor injury before he was taken into custody.

The mayor tweeted later that he was "doing fine" and added: "Thank you to Sac PD for being there."

Ms Strait emphasised that it was a genuinely serious and scary situation: "The mayor was assaulted. I was standing right there and I'm still pretty shaken up."

Police said Thompson was previously unknown to the mayor and his staff.

After he cleaned up, Mr Johnson spoke again to the audience to calm nerves at the event, which was held in the school's garden and featured many of the city's top restaurateurs.

Johnson, who had a long career as an NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns and a brief stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers before becoming mayor, has about two months left as mayor after deciding not to seek a third term.

The 50-year-old is married to Michelle Rhee, a former chancellor of Washington DC schools.

His signature achievement in office was getting a 500 million dollar arena built for the city's NBA team the Sacramento Kings.

His final two years in office have been marked by the re-emergence of a decades-old claim of sexual abuse from a woman who was a teenager at the time, when Mr Johnson played for the Suns. Phoenix Police Department investigated but did not file charges.

He has denied the allegations and insisted they had nothing to do with his decision to leave office.

AP

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