Human Rights

Woman Who Attacked Iconic, Elderly Blues Singer for Trayvon Martin Tribute Is Sued

Soul singer Lester Chambers ‘repeatedly punched in the face’ by woman on stage after dedicating a performance to slain teenager.

Former Chambers Brothers member, Lester Chambers, was attacked on stage at the Hayward-Russell City Blues Festival in California, after he dedicated Curtis Mayfield’s song “People Get Ready” to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

The attacker, Dinalynn Andrews-Potter, allegedly yelled, “it’s all your fault,” before shoving the 73-year-old to the ground, Mercury News reported.  Witnesses say that people on stage restrained the woman after she assaulted Chambers.  No security personnel intervened at any point during the attack.

Chambers is now suing the City of Hayward and Bay Area Blues Society as well as Andrews-Potter on the grounds that the attack was racially motivated and a direct result of mentioning Trayvon Martin in his song.  In addition, he alleges that Andrews-Potter made numerous derogatory racial slurs during the incident.

A video captured at the Festival confirms that a woman jumped onto the stage and knocked Chambers to the ground.  The singer was subsequently taken to hospital for his injuries in which he suffered cuts and bruises on his hands and face and a gash to his torso when he was pushed onto equipment. 

Chambers originally sought a hate crime charge, but authorities say Andrews-Potter’s motives remain unclear.  At present, she faces two felony counts of assault and battery and elder abuse.

Chambers was part of the of the iconic 1960s soul band, 'Chambers Brothers' and is set to be inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame later this year.  In his complaint, he says his status as a black musician and his outspoken support for racial equality and justice dates back to the 1960s where he dedicated a substantial amount of his dialogue to the cause of fighting racial discrimination, particularly in cases such as the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

This month, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder for the 2010 fatal shooting of Martin, a decision that has been highly criticized and resulted in public outrage and protests around the nation.


Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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