BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) — Two black men who claim they were assaulted and beaten by an "angry mob" at a Donald Trump rally sued the Republican presidential nominee and the facility that hosted the event.
Mercutio Terrell Southall, Sr. and Carlos Montez Chaverst, Jr. attended a Trump rally at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center last November, and they have compared their experience at the event to the civil rights movement and the treatment of black people in the 1950s and 60s.
In a federal complaint filed Oct. 17, Southall and Chaverst say it was "shocking" to see black residents "brutally attacked" by a white mob at a publicly funded facility.
Chaverst, Jr. says that upon entering the event, he held his cell phone up and in a "non-threatening and non-animated" manner he said, "we're at the Donald Trump rally, here in Birmingham, Alabama, and we want to inform Donald Trump he's not welcome here. We need to dump the Trump."
Almost immediately, Chaverst says, a large white male slapped the phone out of his hand and plaintiff Southall, who is a professional security guard, pushed Chaverst away from the unidentified Trump supporter.
Southall then says he took his friends and attempted to move them thorough a menacing crowd that was chanting "All Lives Matter."
The two men claim the crowd became more aggressive, yelling racial slurs and insults at them before pushing, shoving them, and blocking their path.
According to the complaint, the "melee" was in full force at this point and Southall was pushed against a chair before he was kicked, choked, shoved, punched and scratched by the Trump supporters.
Trump himself saw the commotion and started yelling to "get him the hell out of here," encouraging his supporters to continue their violence, the complaint says.
Southall and Chaverst say although Trump runs his campaign with the slogan "Make America Great Again," in reality he promotes hate and violence in statements he has made, including telling security to "Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously" and "I'd like to punch them in the face, I tell you" and "In the good old days they'd rip him out of that seat so fast" and boasting that he is the "law and order candidate."
Trump has even offered to pay attorney's fees for any person arrested during his rallies, the complaint says.
The men say all of these statements have been caught on tape and viewed around the world through traditional and social media.
But they go to say their experience at the Trump rally represents a "larger pattern of violence and hateful rhetoric" that is a reflection of Birmingham's "ugly racist past" where blacks were routinely set upon and beaten by angry mobs.
Plaintiffs sued Donald J. Trump for President Inc. as well as the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center for failing to provide appropriate security and a safe venue for the event. Plaintiffs seek damages of $1 million for civil rights violations, breach of contract and negligence.
Plaintiffs are represented by Richard Rice of Birmingham.
Representatives of the Trump campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.
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