Commerce Mayor John Soria Monday issued the following statement regarding a meeting that broke out over the weekend at a an annual seminar of the California Contract Cities Association, an advocacy group of cities that contract for public services such as firefighting and law enforcement, in Indian Wells in Riverside County.
I would like to address the events surrounding an incident that began with a physical altercation between City of Commerce Mayor Pro Tem Ivan Altamirano and Councilmember Leonard Mendoza early Saturday morning at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort, in Indian Wells, California.
Prior to the altercation, I was made aware (of) a conversation the two were having nearby had become elevated and I went to the area to defuse any potential conflict. Upon arriving I witnessed Mr. Mendoza on the floor, apparently unconscious, and Mr Altamirano standing nearby with a facial injury.
A group of individuals had gathered and were attempting to render aid to Mr. Mendoza. I immediately attempted to deescalate the situation by establishing a safe distance between people standing in the area and Mr. Altamirano. Within seconds Mr. Altamirano and I were attacked from behind by two individuals.
Mr. Altamirano was knocked to the ground and I was further attacked by these two individuals, being punched several times on the head and face from which I sustained multiple injuries. At this point my wife, with the help of friends, intervened and were able to pull me to a safe distance from the two attackers. I am very grateful for their help in preventing me from sustaining more serious injuries and ensuring my safety.
As a result of this incident I will be filing a police report with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and intend to press charges against my attackers. I know who the attackers are, but I will refrain from naming them at this time so that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department can conduct a thorough investigation.
While all the facts of these related incidents are not yet known, I want to be clear in condemning the violent behavior from the individuals who initiated these assaults. Violence is never the answer, and as elected officials we are held to a higher standard. Unfortunately, several individuals clearly did not live up that standard during this incident. Such behavior is unacceptable and is an embarrassment to the people of Commerce and Southeast Los Angeles. The stakeholders in our community deserve better.
In addition to the actions described above, once additional information is available I intend to call on my Council colleagues to take appropriate action regarding any individuals that represent the City of Commerce who were involved in the incident.
Mayor John Soria
City of Commerce
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