Petaluma musician Lester Chambers, who was attacked at a Hayward blues festival during a song he dedicated to slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin, is suing the woman suspected of storming the stage, the city and concert organizers for $5 million.
Chambers said the assault by Dinalynn Andrews-Potter, 43, of Barstow, bruised his ribs and hip, leaving him unable to sing in a promotional tour of his new album.
His suit names the Bay Area Blues Society and the city of Hayward, accusing them of contributing to inadequate security.
“It's an unfortunate situation for both me and my audience,” said Chambers, 73, a member of the seminal 1960s rock and soul group, the Chambers Brothers. “I certainly need the work.”
He was playing the Hayward/Russell City Blues Festival July 13 when the attack occured.
Chambers had just begun singing Curtis Mayfield's “People Get Ready” when a woman, identified by police as Andrews-Potter, jumped on the stage and began assaulting him.
She appeared to be reacting to the dedication to Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen who was shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. A jury acquitted Zimmerman the night of the festival, sparking nationwide protests.
“All I did was dedicate that song and prayed that if there are any marches that people do it peacefully and ask God to bless us,” Chambers said.
The next thing he knew, Chambers was reeling backward after he said he was shoved by Andrews-Potter. Videos of the event show a woman punching Chambers in the side numerous times before others pulled her off.
“She pushed me real hard,” he said. “I hit some part of the equipment on the way down to the floor.”
Chambers believes the attack was racially motivated. He described Andrews-Potter as appearing “evil.”