Woman charged in attack on California singer who dedicated song to Trayvon Martin

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 14, 2013 7:43 PM

By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Prosecutors in suburban San Francisco charged a white woman on Wednesday with assaulting a black musician after he dedicated a song to slain teenager Trayvon Martin on the same day a jury reached a verdict in the racially charged case, court documents showed.

Lester Chambers, 73, the former lead singer for the Chambers Brothers, had urged the district attorney for Alameda County to charge Dinalynn Andrews-Potter, 43, with a hate crime for shoving him down while he was performing a peace-seeking spiritual at a blues festival on July 13.

The disturbance, captured on video, happened the same day a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of the unarmed black teenager in a verdict that spurred nationwide protests.

Video of the performance shows Chambers singing into the microphone with a band backing him up when a woman rushed to the stage, jumped up and shoved him so forcefully that he fell backward into sound equipment.

The Alameda County district attorney found no evidence of racial animus and charged Andrews-Potter, who retired from the U.S. Navy and says she suffers post-traumatic stress, with felony assault and elder abuse in connection with the incident in the San Francisco suburb of Hayward, court documents showed.

Police arrested Andrews-Potter right after the incident and subsequently released her, and a warrant was issued for her arrest on Wednesday. It was not immediately known if she had retained a lawyer in the case and attempts to reach her for comment were unsuccessful.

"I certainly wanted her 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," he said.

Chambers, best known for the hit song "Time Has Come Today," said the shoving left him so battered and bruised he was unable to walk off the outdoor stage. Paramedics put him on a stretcher and transported him to a hospital.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Ken Wills)