SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A man hit Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in the face with a pie at a charity dinner on Wednesday night, and an official said the former NBA star went on the defensive.
The mayor had given a speech at the Seeds of HOPE dinner at Sacramento Charter High School before the man came up, pulled the pie from a bag and shoved it into Johnson’s face, according to the mayor’s chief of staff, Crystal Strait.
She said the mayor defended himself against the man, but she would not give details.
Appreciate everyone. I’m doing fine. Thank you to Sac PD for being there. Be safe everyone.
— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) September 22, 2016
Strait emphasized that it was a genuinely serious and scary situation, and there was nothing funny about it.
“The mayor was assaulted. I was standing right there, and I’m still pretty shaken up,” Strait said, speaking some three hours after the incident occurred.
Police agreed. They arrested 32-year-old Sean Thompson on suspicion of assaulting a public official, which is a felony, the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement.
Thompson was treated for a minor injury before he was taken to be booked into jail. It wasn’t clear if he had retained an attorney.
Both police and Strait said Thompson was previously unknown to the mayor and his staff.
After he cleaned up, 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, D.C., schools who was at the event on Wednesday night.
Johnson’s signature achievement in office was getting a $500 million 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 Johnson played for the Suns. The Phoenix Police Department investigated but did not file charges.
Johnson has both denied the allegations and that they had anything to do with his decision to leave office.