SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An anti-vaccine activist is facing a misdemeanor battery charge for shoving state senator Dr. Richard Pan on a downtown Sacramento street.
The confrontation was live-streamed from the activist’s cell phone. Kenneth Austin Bennett is shown on his own-live-stream, approaching Dr. Pan on L Street, as the Senator was walking to a nearby restaurant.
The video then shows Bennett engaging Pan, asking the senator questions about vaccines. Video then shows him push Pan from behind, forcing the senator forward.
“I pushed you, I pushed you,” Bennett said on the live stream.
He then turns the camera on himself.
“I probably shouldn’t have done that,” Bennett said.
Pan was not hurt in the incident.
Bennett is an anti-vaccine activist and a one-time candidate for Pan’s seat in 2018. Dr. Pan has been front and center in California’s heated vaccine policy debates for years.
Capitol police increased security in 2015 after Pan received death threats over his legislation to tighten vaccine requirements.
A spokesperson in Pan’s office declared the video shows activists crossing a new line.
Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove says the live-streamed video was viewed widely in the capitol and has lawmakers concerned.
“I believe that we will be having some internal conversations about personal safety,” Kamlager-Dove said. “But we also have to have a conversation about what we will and won’t allow.”
The Senate Sergeant at Arms, which oversees Dr. Pan’s security, would not comment on any additional measures they may as a result of the incident.