Newsom was on a trip to promote small businesses. As he walked into Beastmode Barbershop and Graffiti Pizza, he was”approached by an aggressive individual,” Fran Clader, communications manager for the California Highway Patrol (CHP), said in a statement.
“Members of the Governor’s security detail removed the Governor in the situation and the individual was arrested by CHP officers,” she continued.
Newsom did not appear to be injured, and colleagues didn’t see what happened, according to the East Bay Times. Reporters on the scene just saw the CHP, which offers security for your governor, detain the defendant. Newsom reportedly joked that”different people have different methods of saying hello,” according to the paper.
Video of this arrest was posted by KABC, and seems to show the defendant, a 54-year-old Black man, lying on the ground as an officer puts him in handcuffs. The man was known as Serge Emanuel Benoit Chaumette Jr. from Berkeley. He was booked for investigation of resisting an executive officer and attacking a public officer, according to KABC.
The defendant’s sister told the Associated Press he was homeless and suffered from severe problems with mental health, saying that the allegations were”consistent with his previous behavior.” Chaumette is going to likely be arraigned on Monday.
In the KABC movie, Newsom didn’t seem upset or flustered by the episode. From the video, the governor walks past a little crowd of individuals and fistbumps them.
Newsom is at the center of a recall campaign. The campaign has gathered enough signatures earlier this spring to qualify for a recall election, but a date has not yet been set.
Critics of the governor started the recall effort over the economic shutdowns Newsom ordered in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Last fall, Newsom came under fire for dining with at least 10 other people at the three Michelin-star restaurant, the French Laundry, where he was accused of flaunting his own guidelines barring groups larger than three households from meeting in person.
“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said at the time. “I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house. Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife and a number of other couples that were outside the household.”
The Recall Gavin Newsom campaign also cite a number of policies as reasons to remove him from office. In addition to the handling of the pandemic, recall supporters point to tax increases, rising crime and lack of affordable housing.