Melee reported at Porter town hall in California

A melee erupted between protesters and attendees over the weekend at a town hall meeting held by Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), the Los Angeles Times reported.

In her first in-person town hall meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic, Porter was interrupted by a group of protesters who back former President Trump as she was discussing climate change and coronavirus vaccinations. 

The protesters were screaming “Carpetbagger Katie” and “Corrupt Katie Porter” while she spoke as her supporters began to chant her name or scream back at the demonstrators, according to the Times.

The Times reports that a fight broke out between the two groups and Porter rushed to the scuffle to apparently help protect an elderly woman. Irvine Police Department (IPD) officers came to the event to deescalate the situation.

IPD Sgt. Karie Davis told the Times that they arrested one Porter supporter at the scuffle who was later released on a citation, adding that officers took reports on assault and battery charges with a few people suffering from “minor injuries.”

The event comes as Porter is defending her seat in the 2022 midterm elections and as Republicans eye a chance to take back control of the lower chamber. 

Porter told Times that the melee was a premeditated attack from conservative Nick Taurus, an Orange County native who is running against Porter.

In her statement, Porter referred to an Instagram post that Taurus shared on Thursday telling his supporters to attend the town hall meeting to confront the congresswoman. 

“Katie Porter is a far-left ideologue supported by Bay Area academics, the billionaire class and foreign lobbies!” Taurus wrote in his post. “Her America Last policies are awful for the 45th district and we intend to voice our displeasure!”

“It is disappointing that a small but vocal group of attendees, who advertised a ‘confrontation rally,’ created unsafe conditions at a planned family-friendly event,” Porter said in a statement. “While I absolutely respect their right to disagree, their disturbance disrespected all the families who attended and were ready to engage in a thoughtful, civil and safe way.”

The 45th District had been controlled by Republicans since 1983 before Porter wrestled it away in 2018. She won her second term in 2020 by 7 points. President Biden won the district in 2020 by more than 11 points.

The Hill has reached out to Porter, Taurus and the Irvine Police Department for comment. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections California Donald Trump House elections Irvine Joe Biden majority

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