Two progressive activists are suing the Donald Trump campaign for violence they experienced at a Trump rally in Alabama last year.
Papers filed on October 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama show Mercutio Terrell Southall and Carlos Montez Chaverst are seeking $1 million from Donald J. Trump for President Inc., as well as the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center, for “violations of constitutionally protected rights, premises liability negligence, assault, and breach of contract.”
The suit stems from an incident that took place at the convention center in November 2015. Video of the incident taken by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond was featured in an episode of The Young Turks at the time. Skip to 2:57 for the footage.
While the scuffle was taking place, Trump noted the violence from on stage, demanding that his supporters “get him the hell out of here, please.”
“The BJCC and the Trump campaign must be held responsible for failing to provide the required leadership during the Donald Trump rally and the required security,” the lawsuit says. “Moreover, Trump’s intentional acts of inciting violence cannot be allowed from anyone much less a candidate for the Presidency of the United States.”
According to AL.com, Southall is a member of the Black Lives Matter movement, while Chaverst is a local activist.
In the suit, Southall is said to have “suffered severe personal injuries including lacerations to his face, and neck, concussion, bruises to his back and torso areas and emotional distress.” Chaverst, meanwhile, claims to have received “severe personal injuries including bruising and emotional distress.”
Interestingly, the suit seeks to connect the treatment of Southall and Chaverst at the Trump rally to Birmingham’s historical struggles with racism and violence:
The footage of the attack is a reflection of Birmingham’s ugly racist past, a past where blacks are routinely set upon and beaten by angry mobs
The suit goes on to list a number of factors related to Birmingham’s role in the civil rights struggle of the past century, including the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that left four black girls, ages 11–14, dead.
“We are not limited by our past,” the lawsuit explains. “But we must face it with an objective lens to move forward and once again seek social cohesion and become a world leader in our collective defense of human rights.”
Speaking with AL.com, Rice said that the suit was filed because, “we feel obligated to prevent this type of thing from happening again.”
A representative for BJCC told the paper the convention center does not comment on pending litigation. The Trump campaign has not responded to my request for comment. I will update this story if they do.