The political activist who threw a coconut cream pie in Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s face last week did not enter a plea during his arraignment hearing on Monday, and has demanded that the charges against him be dropped.
“I felt like I needed to do something jarring in order to get Kevin Johnson’s attention,” Sean Thompson, 32, said on Monday during a news conference in Vallejo. According to the Sacramento Bee, Thompson’s attorney, Claire White, said her client did not intend to harm the mayor physically, and said: “This was a purely political act. There was no intent to injure … merely to embarrass.”
White reportedly said that Thompson wants to see all charges dropped because he already received “street justice” when Johnson tackled and punched him in response to the pie.
Last Wednesday, Thompson pushed a pie in the mayor’s face during a charity dinner outside of Sacramento Charter High School in Oak Park.
Thompson, who has been a political activist for over five years and is a former Occupy protester, called the pie-tossing “an act of nonviolence” during Monday’s press conference. The Bee notes that he has been arrested multiple times in recent years. After being hit in the face with the pie, Mayor Johnson reportedly punched Thompson in the face and also sat on him in order to restrain him.
Thompson also appeared in court on a felony charge of assaulting a public official, and a misdemeanor charge of battery on school property. However, the Bee reports that he did not enter a plea for those charges during his arraignment hearing. A preliminary hearing was reportedly set for October 20 in Sacramento Superior Court.
Mayor Johnson reportedly said he did nothing wrong when he punched Thompson in reaction to having the pie smashed into his face. “When somebody comes up from behind you and slugs you – and in my case you didn’t know what it was at the time and thought it was a punch – you have a right to defend yourself,” Johnson said on Monday.
Johnson’s chief of staff, Crystal Strait, reportedly said, “Let me be clear, the mayor was assaulted.” The Bee notes that the Police Department said it was unlikely Johnson would face charges.
On Monday, Thompson said he decided to carry out the pie stint because he found out that Johnson’s mayoral term would be ending soon and wanted to do whatever he could, in the remaining time, to “bring some public spotlight to these issues. I was going to do what I could. And it just so happened that the circumstances were right. I came upon him at his event and I was able to put a pie in his face.”
He added that he chose coconut cream pie because there was a chance he might have backed out at the last minute and noted that he really likes that flavor of pie.
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