An apparently homeless man attacked a Santa Monica city councilman on Sunday in a bustling local shopping area.
The assailant, identified by authorities as Sawyer Walden Allee, threw an unidentified liquid on the councilman, Phil Brock, and his girlfriend in an attack that was caught on video. Brock had approached the man, who was tearing down signs on a store, to request he throw away the refuse. The man then shoved Brock, shouted obscenities, stole his hat, and threw the liquid.
Allee was charged with battery and grand theft, marking his third felony arrest in less than three weeks. He had been released twice from Los Angeles County jail on felony charges days before the attack.
"I turned to walk away. He took a bottle of some sort of liquid and threw it on me," Brock told KTLA. "Made a second throw and doused Kathryn [Brock's girlfriend] as well. We called 911."
Brock, who advocates on his campaign website for more police and for the enforcement of misdemeanors, noted that Santa Monica—like other cities across the state— is struggling with a homelessness problem on its streets.
California also faces rising crime as Democratic state leaders push to ease sentencing and empty prisons.
"L.A. is finished," Rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson said earlier this month after Los Angeles county, in which Santa Monica is located, reinstated a zero-bail policy for people charged with nonviolent felonies. The city saw an 11 percent increase in its crime rate in 2022.
Homicides in San Francisco increased nearly 40 percent from 2020 to 2022 and deaths from fentanyl spiked. The city lost more than 50,000 residents last year—the highest population decrease for any major U.S. city.