State Watch

‘Aggressive individual’ arrested after interaction with Newsom

California police arrested a man who they described as “aggressive” following an interaction with Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) during a visit to downtown Oakland on Thursday to promote small businesses. 

California Highway Patrol (CHP), which provides security for the governor, said in a statement shared with The Hill that Newsom was “approached by an aggressive individual” while walking on the street to a local barbershop and pizza shop.

“Members of the Governor’s security detail removed the Governor from the situation and the individual was arrested by CHP officers,” the statement added. 

While the state patrol team did not provide additional details on the specifics of the incident, the East Bay Times reported that law enforcement sources said the man may have thrown a water bottle at the governor.

The suspect, who California Highway Patrol identified as 54-year-old Serge Emanuel Benoit Chaumette Jr., was arrested and booked at the Santa Rita Jail, the state patrol told The Hill, adding that the department was continuing to investigate the incident. 

According to the Times, the man’s bail was set at $35,000 and he has an arraignment hearing scheduled for Monday at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin, located about 23 miles east of downtown Oakland. 

The Associated Press reported that a woman who identified herself as the suspect’s sister said her brother was homeless and suffered from mental health issues. 

She told the AP that the allegations from authorities were “consistent with his past behavior.”

The Times reported that Newsom did not appear to be injured following the incident and, when asked about it later in the day, the governor joked to reporters that different people have various ways of saying, “Hello.” 

The governor’s office directed inquires to California Highway Patrol. 

The incident comes as Newsom faces a recall election later this year, in which more than 50 candidates have already filed papers to run. 

Among Newsom’s competitors are three prominent Republicans: Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018.

No Democrats have said they planned to enter the recall race. 

An estimate released last week from the California Department of Finance predicted that the election will cost taxpayers $215 million, though this was lower than the initial estimate of up to $400 million to pay for election administration costs.

Tags California California Highway Portal California recall Gavin Newsom Gavin Newsom Kevin Faulconer Oakland Recall election The Associated Press

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