Sean Thompson, the activist facing assault charges after shoving a pie into the face of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, criticized the charges against him Thursday.
“These are trumped-up charges. This was a pie to the face of a mayor. It didn’t create a lasting injury,” Thompson said after a scheduled preliminary hearing in Sacramento Superior Court was delayed to Nov. 3. “I received repeated blows to the face and the back of the head. (Johnson) physically hit me. However the court process ends up, I believe I’m not guilty.”
Thompson faces a felony allegation of assault on a public official as well as a misdemeanor count of assault on school grounds in the Sept. 21 incident at Sacramento Charter High School in Oak Park.
Thompson, 32, says the incident doesn’t rise to the level of an assault.
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Thompson, clad in a T-shirt and jeans, briefly chatted with a couple of supporters on the second-floor mezzanine of the Gordon Schaber Courthouse in downtown Sacramento, joking at one point that a new scratch on his forehead was the result of a swipe from his girlfriend’s cat.
Thompson needed stitches to close a cut opened when Mayor Johnson responded with blows to the surprise pieing at a charity event before being restrained by staffers. Thompson was briefly jailed but has since been released on bail.
Johnson has said he had a right to defend himself against what he believed was a punch. Mayor’s officials have called the act an assault.
But the one-time Occupy protester has said lobbing the coconut cream pie at Johnson was an act of protest against a mayor he says has ignored the needs of the city’s poor, homeless and minorities while focusing on a new downtown arena and cozying up to the rich.
Hours after his arraignment in September, Thompson appeared at a Sacramento City Council meeting, calling the Golden 1 Arena Johnson’s “circus” and the mayor a “clown.”
On Thursday, Thompson again defended the September pie incident.
“The poor communities ask, ‘Why isn’t (Johnson) doing more? It’s obvious to poor people that poorer communities get the tail end. Essentially, he steals from the poor and gives to the rich,” Thompson said. “I’ve attended dozens of council meetings over the last five years and spoken on behalf of the homeless. I’ve been arrested nine times to make people aware that things need to change and they’ve ignored me and my friends every step of the way. I felt I had to make a bigger statement.”