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Kevin de León's LA City Council return results in walkout by several members

Controversial Los Angeles City Council member Kevin de León tried to return to work Friday, prompting several of his fellow members to walk out of an ongoing meeting.

Why it matters: This was de León's first appearance at a City Council meeting since a leaked racist audiotape sent him into political exile.

Catch up quick: In October, leaked audio featured de León, former council President Nury Martinez and former LA council member Gil Cedillo making racist remarks. De León and Cedillo both apologized for the comments.

  • President Biden and others called for De León to step down from his position. But the LA councilmember refused to do so.
  • Since the controversy erupted, De León has sought to keep a low profile, per Politico.
  • Martinez resigned from her post days after the audio was leaked, and Cedillo is no longer a council member. Cedillo lost a June re-election bid and is set to leave office on Dec. 12.

The latest: On Friday, De León arrived at a City Council meeting and took his seat, appearing ready to work, Politico reports. Council members began to leave almost immediately.

  • Council member Mike Bonin called de León a “vile racist” in a tweet in response to De León's return on Friday.
  • “He needs to resign,” Bonin said.

And then, hours later, De León was allegedly involved in a fight with an activist at a toy giveaway and holiday tree lighting, per the Los Angeles Times.

What they're saying: “This evening a staff member, volunteer and I were violently and physically assaulted by self-proclaimed activists at a community holiday event to the dismay of a multitude of families and children who were there to celebrate a Christmas tree lighting and to receive toys and food," De León said in a statement, per KTLA.

  • "The escalating rhetoric is hitting a fever pitch, transcending from verbal threats into actual acts of violence and must end before more serious harm or loss of life occurs. Violence is not free speech and has no place in politics or democracy.”
  • Shakeer Rahman, an attorney representing Reedy, told the LA Times that De León is “a disgrace.”

More from Axios:

Recall effort launched against LA City Council's Kevin de León

L.A. City Council's Kevin de León says he won't resign

L.A. City Council purges committees after racist remarks leaked

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