Elaine Brown, Former Black Panther Leader, Awarded $4M By Oakland Jury

Ex-Black Panther leader, Elaine Brown

*“Disappointing but not unexpected.” This is how Desley Brooks, the Oakland, California councilwoman who was ordered to pay a huge sum of money to former Black Panther leader, Elaine Brooks, responded to the judgment against her.

Elaine Brown was injured after Brooks pushed her over stacked chairs and she was forced to have surgery for a torn rotator cuff. The incident occurred during an argument.

Brooks must pay $550,000 to Brown — who was also awarded $3.8 million in damages from the city by the same jury in December 2016 when it was determined that Brown was the victim of elder abuse. 

WRAL reports the altercation appeared to stem from Brown’s venture to build affordable housing in West Oakland for formerly incarcerated people.

Brown testified that, during a confrontation at the Jack London Square restaurant, Everett & Jones Barbeque, in October 2015, the councilwoman told her the project was “of no benefit to black people” because the plan didn’t include for-purchase units and physically attacked her after they had a verbal altercation.

Witnesses to the incident claim Brooks threatened to use her position as council member to block Brown’s plan before shoving Brown over a row of chairs, seriously injuring her.

Oakland City councilwoman, Desley Brooks

Brown was the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party following founder Huey P. Newton’s flight to Cuba, due to murder charges. For three years she held the post, leaving in 1977 amidst sexism within the Party and the movement.

Elaine Brown at the height of her days in the Movement.

In the East Bay Express article, Oakland City Council Should Censure Desley Brooks, the councilwoman appears to have a history of volatile behavior.

Desley Brooks has long been an embarrassment in Oakland City Hall. Over the years, the combative city councilmember has routinely been rude to, dismissive of, and abusive toward her council colleagues and the public. And now her anger — and violence — threatens to cost the cash-strapped city millions of dollars at a time when it can barely afford to pave streets, fix broken sewer pipes, and keep libraries open.

In short, it’s past time for the council to censure Brooks for gross violations of the council’s official code of conduct, the article reads.

“I feel grateful to the jury for understanding that this wasn’t an issue of two black women fighting in a bar,” Brown said Monday. “This was someone who was an elected official who abused her power.”

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