Fresno, California’s city council president was issued with citations for assault after he allegedly shoved conservative protestors outside his home while they demanded that businesses be allowed to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police were called to the home of Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias after the incident on Tuesday. A video shared to Twitter by Fox affiliate KMPH shows conservative activist Ben Bergquan confronting Arias on a staircase near the home’s entryway while holding a microphone and telling him he is “destroying businesses and people’s lives.”
“This is my home. My kids are here,” Arias says in the video, before shoving Bergquan. Another unidentified man then pointed his cell phone at Arias, who knocks it out of the man’s hand.
“My dad is a lawyer, you just made a big mistake” the unidentified man says while approaching Arias with a pointed finger. The council president responds by shoving him as well.
The video clip ends with Arias calling police as the group threatens to take legal action against him. Police responded to the scene, as well as the homes of every other Fresno city council member, according to local news outlet GV Wire.
A scuffle between Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias and conservative activist Ben Bergquam was caught on camera earlier today.
Police officers are now being placed outside the homes of other councilmembers as a precaution.
(Video: James H.) pic.twitter.com/KipQmCymIq
— FOX26 News (@KMPHFOX26) May 13, 2020
“They came to my home, where my kids were taking a nap on the couch,” Arias told the outlet. “It was clear to me a mob mentality was taking place, and I am not going to allow it.”
Arias also said that the video was not an accurate representation of the situation, insisting that the group of 10 to 15 were refusing to leave his home and “shouting demands” after he refused to take part in an interview.
Police “facilitated citizen’s arrest citations” for three counts of assault against Arias after reviewing the video with the Fresno city attorney’s office, according to KFSN.
Another video clip posted to social media shows a larger group of protestors gathered outside the home near what appears to be a gated area. It is unclear if the group involved in the confrontation were let through the gate or gained access to the entryway through different means.
Fresno council member Garry Bredefeld, who disagrees with Arias politically and opposes the lockdown restrictions, expressed support for the council president in the wake of what he called a “disturbing and outrageous incident.”
“I’ve just been informed that protesters went to Council President Miguel Arias’s house–I can’t even begin to express the outrage I feel regarding this incident,” said Bredefeld in a statement. “This is completely unacceptable and should never happen.”
“While we can have disagreements politically and express different points of view, it completely crosses the line of safety, decency, and respect of personal and family boundaries,” Bredefeld added.
Newsweek reached out to Arias for comment. This article will be updated with any response.