R&B singer Patti LaBelle’s son testified in defense of his mother’s bodyguard in a Houston courtroom Friday.
LaBelle’s son, Zuri Edwards, said he felt he was in “danger” the night a man tried to get into his mother’s limo at Bush Intercontinental Airport in 2011. Edwards said the assailant was “intoxicated, loud, [and] obnoxious” and hit him in the face after shouting racial slurs at his mother.
Still photographs taken from surveillance video the night of the incident purportedly show the suspect, Richard King, in an altercation with LaBelle’s son and bodyguard.
According to KHOU, the bodyguard, 45-year-old Efrom Holmes, began to tear up when he took the stand. When his attorney asked why he was so emotional, Holmes said, “I’m trying to figure out why those pictures weren’t in there before.”
Holmes also said he pushed King with an open hand, but never hit him. When he pushed King, he hit his head on a pillar and had to go to the hospital.
King, who was 23 at the time of the incident, denied that he had started a fight with the two men, but admitted that he had been drinking before he walked up to LaBelle’s limo. Holmes testified that he heard King tell someone on the phone, “This f**king black guy won’t let me in the car.”
King had a.28 blood alcohol level, nearly 3.5 times the legal limit in Texas. King testified that he doesn’t remember what happened the night of the assault.
According to WHIG, the West Point cadet jiggled the door handle of the limo and began calling the 69-year-old Grammy winner names when LaBelle’s son, who works as his mother’s manager, intervened. Richard King punched Zuri Edwards, and Efrom Holmes punched King, Patti LaBelle testified Thursday.
“Nobody was trying to hit that kid,” LaBelle said. “He started everything.”
Prosecutors showed the surveillance video in which Edwards is seen chest-bumping King, who then punched the 40-year-old. Holmes then punched King three times in the face before LaBelle’s hairdresser got between the two men and hit King.
Richard King filed a lawsuit against Patti LaBelle and Efrom Holmes, and LaBelle countersued.
The Philadelphia native settled a lawsuit with two New York parents last September over a scuffle that took place in 2010. LabBelle agreed to pay Roseanna Monk $100,000 after the former Manhattan kindergarten teacher accused her of cursing and throwing water at her and her 18-month-old daughter, Genevieve, during an argument in the lobby of Trump Place on November 11, 2010.
Monk had put her daughter down in the building’s lobby to carry luggage to her car. When LaBelle saw the child running around unattended, she confronted Monk and her husband, throwing water at them. Monk’s lawyer, Samuel Davis, claimed the incident caused a change in the child’s personality for several months. Monk filed a lawsuit less than a week after the incident.
[Photo credit: Sandra Alphonse / Flickr]