Rep. Katie Porter’s Irvine event in July 2021 was memorable not because it was her first in-person town hall since the COVID-19 pandemic started but because a physical altercation broke out after far-right opponents disrupted the gathering.
In the aftermath, Porter texted Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan, voicing her frustration with what happened at the event and how it was handled by law enforcement.
“I will never trust them again,” Porter said, noting she was set to meet with the chief of police. “Well, your police force is a disgrace.”
The texts, critical of the Irvine Police Department, were first reported on by Fox News and have been shared by conservative media outlets.
“Rep. Porter was upset that a planned family-friendly themed town hall was hijacked by extremists who made constituents feel unsafe, including using hateful slurs in front of children,” Jordan Wong, a spokesperson for the Democratic congresswoman, said in a statement shared with the Register. “She was disappointed that despite our staff alerting police days before the event that the extremists were openly advertising their intention to disrupt the town hall, officers on the day of the incident were hundreds of feet away and did not intervene immediately when fighting broke out.”
A spokesperson for the Irvine Police Department did not respond to emailed questions about its handling of the event.
Julian Willis of La Jolla was cited and released for his actions during the altercation, police said at the time. Willis reportedly has lived at Porter’s Irvine home, although it’s not clear if that is still the case.
One man who was described as a supporter of Porter was cited and released for his actions during the altercation, police said at the time.
A self-proclaimed “American Nationalist” group led by Nick Taurus — who has been involved in other protests that turned physical — interrupted the July 2021 event by shouting personal insults at the congresswoman.
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One attendee told the Register then that the protesters yelled about Porter’s experience as a domestic abuse survivor and said “some really horrible stuff about her kids.”
Since the event over one year ago, Porter and her team “have worked productively with the Irvine Police Department, including the Congresswoman hosting the new police chief in her office for a constructive and cooperative meeting,” Wong said.
Porter, who assumed office in 2019, faces former GOP Assembly leader Scott Baugh in the upcoming November election.
“Open border Porter has proven time and time again that she has no respect for the rule of law,” Baugh said in a statement. “Disparaging the Irvine Police Department for doing its job of arresting people who commit crimes is appalling. Irvine is a safe city because of the great work the police do.”
Staff writer Brooke Staggs contributed to this report.
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