By Vivien Li | Staff Writer
On November 21st, presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally in Birmingham, Alabama. It was at this rally that a Black Lives Matter protester was kicked, punched, and called racial slurs by a crowd of Trump’s supporters.
The victim was activist Mercutio Southall Jr., a man who went to Trump’s rally intending to take a stand against remarks that Trump had been making about minorities. He was chanting, “Black Lives Matter,” when a crowd formed and began to beat him. According to AL.com, there were about eight or nine people on top of Southall, violently attacking him. Although he says he was not seriously injured, he recalls that there were both men and women assaulting him, and even one person who tried to choke him out. Birmingham police and Secret Service agents then escorted Southall out, and he hopes that there will be a police investigation and criminal charges against those who attacked him.
CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond caught this scene on video and posted it to Twitter. In this video, Trump can be heard in the background. As Southall is being beaten, Trump says, “Get him the hell out of here!” According to thinkprogress.org, “Donald Trump suggested that they [the protesters] may have done the right thing.” As Southall curled up and fell to the ground, Trump did nothing and no arrests were made.
On Sunday morning, Trump was asked about the incident on Fox & Friends, where he responded with, “Maybe he should have been roughed up. It was disgusting what he was doing.” Southall tells reporters that this kind of comment is nothing new to him. When he was attacked, he was called “n****r,” and “monkey,” but he still tells AL.com, “I believe in defending myself, defending my people and sticking up for my people. I’m not violent. I’m not out threatening to blow up people. Self-preservation is an instinct every creature has and we deserve respect.”
This was not the first occurrence of an activist that fell victim to the attacks of Trump supporters. According to thinkprogress.org, in the past, attendees have “shoved and spat on immigration advocates,” and a week after that, “Trump supporters were filmed dragging and kicking an immigration activist while others yelled ‘U-S-A! U-S-A!’”