UFCW President Attacks Former COD President and Current COD Board of Trustee Dr. Joel Kinnamon at Democrats of Desert Meeting
PALM DESERT — UFCW President Joe Duffle faces possible charges of misdemeanor battery following a fracas with former COD President and current COD Board of Trustee Joel Kinnamon on Saturday at a Democrats of the Desert meeting, Riverside County Sheriff’s Office authorities confirmed Sunday.
“They were arguing, and Joseph punched Joel three times,” according to authorities. “Joel fell back on a table. The deputy could not see visible injuries. Several witnesses were interviewed and provided the same story. Joel did sign a private person’s arrest form.
“Charges of misdemeanor battery will be filed out of custody,” authorities added.
Authorities did not have time to speak with Duffel. He had left the location.
The deputy was almost off at the time of the call. He will follow up when he comes back on duty. The investigation is not yet complete.
The report will be submitted to the District Attorney’s office.
In a statement issued Sunday, Kinnamon said, “Yesterday, an unfortunate incident occurred during a local political organization’s monthly meeting when its guest speaker, UFCW President Joe Duffle, physically attacked and threatened me. Joe Duffle accused a former college trustee, in a hostile manner, that I asked an endorsement question on her behalf. I stepped in to inform him that she had nothing to do with my question. In a split second, Mr. Duffle’s rage escalated towards me. I soon suffered a series of violent acts including being forcibly shoved backwards onto a folding table, hit with closed fists to my chest, and multiple verbal threats that he “would take me out.” At no time did I initiate physical contact towards Mr. Duffle even during the attack on me. Too often, in these political times, we have seen election officials and elected officials being threatened with violence or suffering from the acts of violence, I just never thought it would happen to me. Violence is never the answer.”
Kinnamon was “emotionally traumatized” Saturday evening after Duffle punched him following the monthly Democrats of the Desert meeting, Chris Parman, Kinnamon’s husband, told Uken Report.
Kinnamon is also “feeling pain in his back and neck, and chest,” Parman said. Kinnamon went to the ER shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday as his “neck is really hurting him.” Parman told Uken Report. They were there until nearly 2 a.m.
Kinnamon filed an official complaint for assault and battery with the Riverside County Sheriffs’ Department, Parman said.
“You do not put hands on a union official and threaten to take him out without there being a response,” Duffle told Uken Report. He declined to elaborate.
The genesis of the incident followed a meeting of about 75 Democrats of the Desert where Joe Duffle, President of United Food and Commercial Union, Local 1167, was the guest speaker.
During the Q&A portion of the program, Kinnamon asked a question about the Union’s endorsement process and asked Duffle to help him understand why the Union endorses candidates that have not been effective in delivering those agreements. “Can you explain it to us on how you determine who to support?” Kinnamon asked.
According to Parman, Duffle replied, “We have friends that we support and look at those who do support the Project Labor Agreements, but each union must determine on their own who they will support and who they won’t. It’s really up to them.”
Duffle didn’t seem angry or upset at the question and responded very cordially, Parman said. Then a few more people asked more questions from the audience. About 3:40 pm, people began to leave.
Towards the exit door of the room, Duffle stood talking with a person, and then a line of people that wanted to talk to him formed with about six people waiting in line. Mary Jane Sanchez, a candidate and former trustee for COD Area 2, was next in line and Kinnamon was two people behind her.
That’s when Duffle, a good friend and supporter of Area 2 Trustee Bea Gonzalez, allegedly asked her if Kinnamon put her up to asking him his particular question. Sanchez said he did not.
Tensions have been building in this race for months. Gonzalez has been accused for betraying students in her Area. Her face was on a high-profile billboard on Indian Canyon that declared, “Shame on you for voting against COD students!”
Kinnamon could hear Joe’s question, and responds from the line, “Mary Jane did not ask me to ask that question, it was something I wanted to know the answer to, as it appears that candidates are not being supported because you’re aligned with the Boys.”
“What do you mean by the boys?” Duffle asked.
Kinnamon responded something to the effect that, “I think you know what I am saying, you mentioned that you support ‘friends,’ yet they have not looked out in the interest of your members.” Kinnamon said. “Are you looking out for the interest of your members or just your friends? This is the type of stuff that we need to clean up, it’s corruption and we need to cut it out. And I’m here to help cut it out so it doesn’t continue.”
Duffle allegedly blows up instantaneously and starts yelling, “You’re threatening to take me out?”
Kinnamon responds, “No, that’s not what I am saying. What I’m saying is it’s time to eliminate any corruption.”
Duffle allegedly yells into Kinnamon’s face in a fit of rage, according to Parman. “So, you’re trying take me out? I’ll fucking take you out.”
Parman said he was close by and went up to both Kinnamon and Duffle and said, “Let’s calm down.”
“All of a sudden, Joe Duffle uses both hands and shoves Dr. Kinnamon backwards onto some folding tables used for fliers, pushing the tables and Dr. Kinnamon several feet back from where the tables were positioned,” Parman said. “Joe keeps yelling, ‘I’ll take you out, you mother fucker, I’ll take you out!’ He uses his two closed fist(s), like fist bumping, and hits Dr. Kinnamon hard in the chest, and then continues, ranting ‘I’ll take you out,’ then steps back two feet and charges at Dr. Kinnamon lying on the table hitting him for a second time on the chest with two closed fists, like bump fisting. Dr. Kinnamon keeps still and keeps his hands and arms wide apart showing no resistance and Joe Duffle is leaned over him ranting in his face, ‘I’ll take you fucking out!'” Parman said.
Then Kinnamon reportedly yells to the crowd, “Someone call the police!”
According to Parman, Duffle then steps back as people in the room are in shock that he physically attacked the former president of COD.
“Joe continues to rant and people are directing him out of the room,” Parman said. “Joe storms out of the room and continues a raging rant in the parking lot to several club members.”
Parman called 9-1-1 and asked for police to come.
Other people who reportedly witnessed the “physical attack” were Palm Desert Mayor Karina Quintanilla, former Palm Springs Councilmember Ginny Foat, U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz staffer Shayra Hernandez, and Rick Weingard, CEO of the Democrats of the Desert Headquarters, according to Parman.
- Joe Duffle: UFCW Local 1167
- Joel Kinnamon: Joel Kinnamon
- Assault and Battery: Shutterstock