Ex-leader of Black Panthers awarded $3.75M in assault case

A former leader of the Black Panthers was awarded $3.75 million in damages by a California jury this week for injuries suffered when an Oakland city councilwoman allegedly assaulted her in 2015.

The jury in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland decided Thursday that Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks attacked Elaine Brown without justification and that Brown never threatened her, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Because Brown was 72 years old at the time of the confrontation, the jury also agreed that Brooks’ attack on Brown was an act of elder abuse, the newspaper reported.

The jury will reconvene in January to consider additional sums beyond the pain and suffering award, the report said.

According to the East Bay Times, Brooks and Brown became engaged in an argument at an Oakland restaurant over the filing of an application for an affordable housing project.

The argument escalated to the point where Brooks allegedly shoved Brown, causing her to fall backward into a stack of chairs, the Times reported. Brown claimed to have suffered bumps and bruises as a result of the fall, the newspaper said.

According to the Chronicle, Brown joined the Black Panthers in 1968 and became the group’s leader six years later, after Huey Newton fled to Cuba to avoid murder charges.

She stepped down in 1977, the newspaper reported.