Councilman knocked out in violent brawl at city council meeting

Posted at 10:46 AM, May 21, 2019

COMMERCE, Calif. - A heated argument between elected officials of the city of Commerce led to punches thrown and Commerce councilman Leonard Mendoza knocked unconscious on the ground.

The bloody brawl broke out early Saturday morning at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort during a meeting of city leaders.

"To be honest with you, it’s pretty embarrassing, the fact that our officials are doing this," Commerce resident Hector Maravilla told KTLA.

Mayor John Soria released a statement saying the physical altercation began with an argument between Mendoza and vice Mayor Ivan Altamirano.

The mayor said he stepped in to diffuse the situation, when both he and the vice mayor were attacked from behind by two other men.

Altamirano suffered a gash on his lip. His attorney said Mendoza was the aggressor and points to a pattern of alleged violent behavior involving the councilman.

Mendoza can be seen being carted out on a gurney from a different incident at a local bar in January .

"It’s not the first time one of our officials had this situation happen to him. He did get knocked out at Maguey bar not too long ago," Maravilla said.

KTLA went to Mendoza’s home, but there was no answer.

Mendoza said he was sucker punched by the vice mayor, and just remembers waking up in the hospital.

Some residents said they’ve had enough with their local politicians.

"Very unprofessional, I think in a position that all eyes are on you, I think you have to act in a manner more professional than what they’re presenting," Edder Pinedo said.

Both the mayor and vice mayor are planning on pressing charges against Mendoza. The next city council meeting is set for next week.