A Donald Trump protester claims he was beaten. The protester showed up at a rally for Donald Trump in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday, and says a group of pro-Trump supporters punched and kicked him while shouting racial slurs. The activist – a 31-year-old black man wearing a Black Lives Matter tee shirt – was assailed by a number of white attendees after he and a few others began shouting “Dump the Trump” while the Republican front-runner addressed several thousand supporters who showed up to hear the candidate’s stump speech.
Writes CNN on Nov. 22: “Donald Trump suggested Sunday the half-dozen white attendees at his campaign rally on Saturday may have reacted appropriately when they shoved, tackled, punched and kicked a black protester who disrupted his speech.”
Cell phone video shows the man being shoved to the ground while others get in a few punches and kicks. Trump, aware of what is happening, can be heard yelling out: “Get him the hell out of here! Throw him out!” while the crowd applauds and cheers.
Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said “the campaign does not condone this behavior,” but less than 24 hours later, Trump suggested to Fox & Friends that the protester got what he deserved.
“The man who was, you say roughed up, he was so obnoxious and so loud he was screaming,” Trump said Sunday morning by phone to Fox & Friends. “I had ten thousand people in the room yesterday, ten thousand people and this guy started screaming by himself. I don’t know, roughed up? Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”
The man was escorted out. Birmingham police reported no arrests were made. A member of Donald Trump’s staff, who declined to identify himself, said the protester – identified as Mercutio Southall – was acting in an aggressive way and taunting Trump and those gathered near him.
“The guy was being disruptive,” the staffer said. “He was doing the Black Lives Matter thing and saying other phrases that were really firing up the crowd around him. He was throwing his hands around almost punching.”
Southall later said that people near him were calling him a “monkey” and shouting the n-word at him. He compared the incident to facing a “lynch mob.” Southall claims a Trump supporter threw the first punch, reports the NY Times.
Critics say Trump primed and revved up the crowd, both by calling for his supporters to toss Southall out, but also by previously warning that if Black Lives Matter protesters showed up at one his rallies, they will have a fight on their hands.
In August, Black Lives Matter activists disrupted and shut down an event for Vermont senator and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. “That will never happen with me,” Trump cautioned at the time. “I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself, or if other people will.” Turns out the latter was true.
“I got punched in the face, I got punched in the neck. I got kicked in the chest. Kicked in the stomach. Somebody stepped on my hand,” Southall told CNN.
Southall attended the ticketed event with Carlos Havers of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization founded in 1991 by Al Sharpton.
“When you have a candidate going around spewing hatred and racism, that’s to be expected,” Havers said of the beating Southall took. “[Trump] was really inciting the entire thing.” Southall said he intends to press charges; they also want an apology from Trump himself.
“He does condone it because he was the one saying, ‘Yeah, get them out of here.’ He was the one telling the supporters to do what they needed to do get them out of here,” Havers said. “We want an apology from Donald Trump himself. We want him to sit down with us and explain why he did what he did and why’s he’s going around the country spewing hatred and racism.”
Southall said the officers who escorted him out never bothered to ask if he wanted to identify his assaulters or press any charges; they also did not ask or make any determination as to if he needed medical attention, he claims.
“They were too busy trying to get me the f**k out of there. They weren’t trying to be nothing but just getting me the f**k out of there. That was their whole concern,” Southall said.
Birmingham Police Lt. Sean Edwards said that Southall was checked over by officers and did not need medical attention. He also said Southall never mentioned the desire to press charges, and since no arrests were made, police did not ascertain the need to pursue charges. He also said they have been attempting to contact Southall at various numbers to follow up, but cannot reach him.
Edwards also said Southall is free to come in to the police station at any time to file paperwork for charges, but also said his staff is well aware of who he is. “I would be a little cautious with Mercutio Southall,” Edwards added. “He has been an agitator from day one. Mercutio is always the agitator.”
“This is the ugly truth of America. It was there like literally and figuratively in black and white. We saw it. We see it daily. It shows what kind of America we live in now and what kind of America it will be with him at the helm,” Southall said.
Sound off below on Trump’s comments. And do you think this Donald Trump protester was beaten as he claims?