- Frustrations over heckling boiled over at a California congressional town hall over the weekend.
- Democratic Rep. Katie Porter was holding her first in-person town hall since the pandemic began.
- Injuries “sounded minor,” according to the Irvine Police Department.
In her first in-person town hall since the pandemic began, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of California “rushed to the scuffle” that broke out between protesters and supporters, according to the Los Angeles Times and several other reports.
The outdoor event in Irvine, California ended in “punches being thrown and men falling to the ground,” according to the LA Times.
Porter intervened to protect an elderly woman close to the fight by wrapping her arms around her, the Times reported.
Injuries from the scuffle “sounded minor,” according to Sgt. Karie Davies of the Irvine Police Department, adding that one Porter supporter was arrested and that officers took down a report for assault and battery.
The Porter supporter was later released on a citation, police said.
Porter has gained a higher profile than most in Congress, consistently going viral for her grilling of big business executives and government officials during hearings with her signature whiteboard.
From the outset of her town hall, Porter asked her constituents to be respectful and to keep the volume down in the name of civil discourse.
“This is an outdoor activity; we have a lot of wind,” she said, according to the Times. “So I’m going to ask that everyone, regardless of your views, try to keep your voices down and be quiet so we can have a conversation.”
Her three kids were also in attendance, but the event started to go off the rails when a group of hecklers began shouting “Carpetbagger Katie” and “Corrupt Katie Porter.” The interruptions continued through a variety of topics, the Times reported.
Porter supporters came back at the hecklers with chants of “Katie! Katie! Katie!” before some confronted the protesters.
Irvine police officers stepped in to break up the fight once punches were thrown and separated the two groups.
In a statement released after the town hall gone awry, Porter vowed to continue holding the events so she can be available to constituents.
“My team and I are evaluating next steps, but my promise to Orange County families is that I will continue to hold town halls and to be in conversation with them,” Porter said.