Controller candidate Rob Wilcox attacked outside City Hall

Rob Wilcox, a candidate for city controller and a spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, was the target of an unprovoked attack near City Hall on Friday, he said.

Wilcox said he was walking near 1st and Los Angeles streets around noon when an “extremely agitated and angry” man approached him and began shouting. The man began shoving him and called him a slur, Wilcox said.

Wilcox said he ran into the street and tried to get to flag down a car, but no one would stop. The man followed him into the street and continued to shove him, Wilcox said.

At one point, the man kicked Wilcox in the shin, Wilcox said.

Unable to stop the man, Wilcox said he ran to the Joy Picus Child Development Center, a childcare center housed in a city facility named after the former San Fernando Valley councilwoman.

Wilcox banged on the door of the facility and yelled, ‘Help me, help me!” but no one came, he said. The man, who had followed Wilcox, had him “hemmed in,” Wilcox said. Wilcox then ran toward a City Hall parking garage, but the man didn’t come after him, he said.

An LAPD spokesman said he did not have immediate information about the incident.

An email to staffers in the city attorney’s office sent Friday by chief of staff Kathleen Kenealy recounted the incident and said that the “individual attacker was not apprehended and may still be in the area.”

“We have reported the incident to LAPD, and we will step up our efforts to insist that LAPD and [the General Services Department] find solutions to better protect our staff as they come and go from our offices,” Kenealy wrote.

The City Hall area has become increasingly desolate in recent years as people live in tents and other makeshift homes on the streets near the government buildings. It’s common to see individuals in the area wandering barefoot, or exhibiting other forms of physical or mental distress.

In 2019, the LAPD assigned officers to the Civic Center after city employees told authorities they did not feel safe entering and leaving buildings and retail shops because of the increase in tents and people living on the street.

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