Singer Lester Chambers Attacked Over Trayvon Martin Tribute

73-year-old performer knocked down by angry audience member.

Posted: 07/15/2013 02:54 PM EDT
Lester Chambers

Lester Chambers was violently interrupted while attempting to give tribute to the family of Trayvon Martin over the weekend.

The 73-year-old lead singer of the soul group The Chambers Brothers was performing at the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival in Hayward, CA, Saturday (July 13) when he was attacked. During a rendition of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," eyewitnesses say a woman, identified as 43-year-old Dinalynn Andrews Potter, climbed on stage and knocked Chambers over.
 
According to his wife, Lola Chambers, the senior citizen was hit after saying that if Mayfield were alive, he would've changed the lyrics from "there's a train a comin'" to "there's a change a comin'."

Andrews Potter reportedly screamed, "It's all your fault," and struck so quickly that the wife is convinced she had practice. "She must have been an acrobat," Lola said. "She did it in one leap. He didn't see her coming."

Lester was transported to a hospital for a minor injury and released. His son, Dylan Chambers, posted a message detailing the injury to Facebook. "A bruised rib muscle and nerve damage and he is sore all over," he wrote.

Like many musicians — including Young Jeezy and Wyclef Jean, who both released songs dedicated to the tragedy; and Beyoncé, who held a moment of silence during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour stop — Lester was moved to respond, especially given the nationally televised trial of Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman. 29-year-old Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder, sparking protests across the country and fueling the feeling in many that the U.S. legal system has not changed despite the work that has been done to improve race relations and gun control laws.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Sunday (July 14) that it will review the gunning down of 17-year-old Martin to see if Zimmerman, in fact, racially profiled the high school student, thus infringing upon his civil rights. "Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department's policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial," the department said in a statement.

In less than one day, a petition on the White House's "We the People" page garnered 15,000 signatures all urging the DOJ to look take additional action.

Zimmerman remains in hiding since being set free and could have the gun used to kill Martin returned to his possession. Lead defense lawyer Mike O'Mara said his client needs the weapon "even more" now that the trial is over. "There are a lot of people out there that actually hate him, though they shouldn't."

President Obama has urged the nation to remain peaceful and focused on doing "all we can to stem the tide of gun violence." 

The Chambers Brothers was founded in the early 1950s. They're best known for the 11-minute song "Time Has Come Today."

 

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(Photo: Vivien Killilea/WireImage)

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