The black activist who was seen being attacked by a mob of Donald Trump supporters late last week said he was made to feel unwelcome even before the assault in an interview published by Think Progress on Monday.
“It was just a sea of white faces,” Mercutio Southall Jr. said. “A lady kicked me in the stomach. A man kicked me in the chest. They called me ni**er, monkey, and they shouted ‘All lives matter’ while they were kicking and punching me. So for all the people who are still confused at this point, they proved what ‘all lives matter’ meant. It means, ‘Shut up, ni**er.'”
The assault on Southall was captured by a CNN reporter during a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. The candidate can be heard saying, “Get him the hell out of here.”
A day later, Trump said it was “absolutely disgusting” for Southall to chant “Black lives matter” and argued that “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
According to Southall, he and two friends started chanting the movement’s name after an unidentified white attendee swatted one friend’s phone out of his hand after he said, “We want to show [Trump] he’s not welcome here” during an online live-stream from the event.
However, Southall said, Trump supporters avoided them leading up to the incident.
“There was like a six feet space on either side of us,” he said. “The message was: this was not our town. This was not our place.”
Southall said he has not decided whether to sue the people who beat him. Local police, who have described him as an “agitator,” have stated that they would not charge neither the attackers nor Southall and his friends. Authorities have said that Southall did not respond when they asked him whether he would file a complaint.
Southall expressed skepticism that the police would take him seriously if he did.
“I was being choked right in front of a Birmingham Police officer and all he did was try to stop me from hitting the man who was choking me,” he said. “But I’m supposed to trust y’all now?”