Bay Area mayor says he was punched in chest after ‘heated’ conversation with man yelling at his driver
San Francisco’s Police Commission has filed a complaint against Mayor Ed Lee and the commission has charged him with assault, which is considered a felony in California.
Mayor Ed Lee spoke to the media on Monday after he was attacked by a man who yelled at him and then punched him in the chest, striking him with an air ball.
The mayor said an altercation erupted between him and a driver who yelled at him while he was taking a turn.
Lee said the driver was cursing at him.
“I decided to make that person’s life better by moving my body,” he said.
In addition, the mayor was punched in the face and his hands were grabbed during the incident. The mayor said he was taken to the hospital in serious condition.
Lee has been on the job for seven years, making him the longest-serving mayor in San Francisco history. He said he would not run again in November.
The Chronicle’s editorial board called Mayor Lee’s departure a “sad day” and expressed concern over the fact that the mayor was punched repeatedly.
“San Francisco has lost the mayor it needs to keep us safe in this moment,” columnist George Skelton wrote. “His attack was cowardly. It should have been stopped immediately. He had a duty to speak to a citizen before he spoke to a police officer, and he fell short.”
When reached at his home on Wednesday, Mayor Lee said he wished he could have taken the incident more lightly.
“I probably could have handled it better,” he said. “We have to put our city first and I’m just so disappointed with how this went down.”
The alleged punch-out happened at about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, Lee told CBS SF. A man had stopped his car, yelled at him and then punched him in the chest when he refused to get out.
A woman who witnessed the incident and later spoke with the mayor said the man started yelling at the driver and then he grabbed the mayor’s phone and started texting.