A white woman who knocked down a black singer onstage after he dedicated a song to slain teen Trayvon Martin has avoided a hate crime charge and has instead been charged with assault and abuse.
Lester Chambers, 73, the ex-lead singer for the Chambers Brothers, was forcefully shoved into a sound amplifier by Dinalynn Andrews-Potter, 43, as he sang Curtis Mayfield’s 1965 peace anthem “People Get Ready” at a San Francisco’s blues Hayward Festival.
The July 13 incident, captured on video, happened the same day a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of the unarmed black teen in a verdict that triggered nationwide protests.
Video footage shows Andrews-Potter rushing to the stage and shouting something before pushing Chambers into equipment on stage. Witnesses said several band members and fans then tackled the woman.
Police arrested Andrews-Potter straight after the incident and later released her. On Wednesday, a warrant was issued for her arrest. It’s not yet known if she has retained a lawyer as attempts to reach her for comment have been unsuccessful.
Chambers had urged the Alameda County district attorney to charge Andrews-Potter with a hate crime.
However, authorities said her motives were unclear and the district attorney found no evidence of racial animus.
Prosecutors charged Andrews-Potter with felony assault and elder abuse on Wednesday.
Andrews-Potter, who is retired from the US Navy and says she suffers from post-traumatic stress, told police a repetitive part of the song caused her to snap.
At the time of the incident Chambers was carried off the stage by paramedics on a stretcher and said the shoving was so severe it left him battered and bruised.
“I certainly wanted her [Andrews-Potter] charged for an assault and hate crime because that’s what it was,” Chambers told Reuters in a telephone interview from his northern California home.
“She got right up into my face on stage with a microphone in my hand asking God to change this violent world we live in from hate to love,” added the “Time Has Come Today” singer.
His son Dylan expressed his outrage to CBS San Francisco affiliate KPIX 5:
“It’s beyond fathomable that what happened to my father, a legend, someone so powerful for peace.”
Do you think Andrews-Potter should have had hate-crime added to her existing charges?