Ex-Black Panther Leader Elaine Brown will receive $3.75 million in damages for injuries she suffered when 54-year-old Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks assaulted her during an argument at a San Francisco restaurant in 2015.
An Alameda County Superior Court jury decided that Brooks was solely responsible for the attack on Brown. After deliberations, they concluded that Brooks had attacked Brown without reason and that the then 72-year-old woman did not threaten her in any way. The jury also believed that the assault fell under an act of elder abuse.
In October of 2015, Brooks threatened to block Brown’s funding request to build affordable housing for formerly incarcerated people and told her the project was “of no benefit to black people.”
According to The San Francisco Gate, Brooks followed Brown around Everett & Jones Barbecue, yelled “I have not moved on you before because you’re old” and punched the woman in the chest with both fists — sending Brown tumbling over chairs.
She was hospitalized after the incident and diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff that will always cause her problems until the day she dies. The jury found that Brooks was the sole agitator despite her claims of being poked.
Brown will receive $2.4 million for past pain and suffering and $1.375 million for future suffering from the city.
Brown’s legacy as a member of the Black Panthers started when she joined the group in 1968. She rose to the top after Huey Newton fled to Cuba in 1974. For about three years, Brown served as the first and only woman to lead the revolutionary group.
She would go on to have a career in politics, assisting Lionel Wilson’s bid to become the first black mayor of Oakland in 1977. Brown has remained dedicated to improving the city by setting up an urban farm that hires former inmates and helps them get back on their feet.
Brown “is very grateful for the jury verdict because it’s going to protect the elderly,” her lawyer, Charles Bonner, said Friday.
In a statement Friday, Brooks said, “While I’m disappointed in the decision, I respect the jury and the process. I …