Black Man Claims He Won Mayoral Election But Can’t Take Office Due To Racism

[screenshot/YouTube/The People's Justice Council]

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A Black man has filled a federal civil rights lawsuit, claiming he was duly elected mayor of an Alabama town but was prevented from taking office by White leaders of the community.

Patrick Braxton, 57, claims “minority White residents” of the town of Newburn refused to accept the outcome of a mayoral race held in 2020 after he, a Black man, allegedly won the election. Instead of allowing him to take office, Braxton claimed the acting mayor of Newbern, Haywood Stokes III, worked with town council members to hold a special election in which Stokes was re-elected to the mayoral seat, CBS News reported.

Braxton further alleged Newbern had not held an election “for decades” prior to his purported 2020 win. Instead, he claimed, the office of mayor was “inherited by a hand-picked successor” who then appointed his own town council members, the outlet reported.

Despite the town’s 85% Black population, Braxton claimed all previous mayors were White and that only one Black person had ever served on Newbern’s town council.

Braxton stated he approached Stokes for information on how to run for mayor in 2020 over concerns the needs of the Black community were not being met. Braxton alleged Stokes then gave him “wrong information” about how to qualify for mayor, failing to tell him he needed to provide public notice to residents about the election.

Despite allegedly receiving wrong information, however, Braxton claims he gave the city clerk his statement of candidacy and a money order which would allow him to qualify. Braxton further alleged that when the time for the election came around, he was elected mayor by default after Stokes “did not bother to qualify as a candidate,” despite knowing he had a challenger in Braxton, the outlet stated. (RELATED: Supreme Court Strikes Down Alabama Congressional Map )

Braxton stated county probate Judge Arthur Crawford informed him that since no one else had qualified or had been elected to town council positions, he could appoint his own council members, as had been done in previous administrations. Braxton claimed to have asked both White and Black residents to serve, but no White residents agreed to join his council, the outlet stated.

In the meantime, Stokes and his council allegedly “met in secret to adopt a special election ordinance,” setting a special election for Oct. 6, 2020 without publishing notice of said election, CBS News reported. Since the election was allegedly not publicized, only Stokes and his council members qualified and “effectively reappointed themselves” to their leadership roles within the town, Braxton claimed, according to CBS News.

“When confronted with the first duly-elected Black mayor and majority Black Town Council, all defendants undertook racially motivated actions to prevent the first Black mayor from exercising the duties of this position and the first majority Black Town Council from exercising legislative power,” the lawsuit stated, according to CBS News.

Stokes and his council responded to Braxton’s allegations and lawsuit by admitting “that Plaintiff Patrick Braxton is Black and is the former Mayor of the Town of Newbern.” Stokes and his council further conceded that a special election was held in which they put themselves into town council positions but contend that “Defendant Stokes became Mayor of the Town of Newbern after Plaintiff Braxton lost the position by operation of law,” CBS News reported.

The defendants did not specify which operation of law removed Braxton from his mayoral seat, the outlet stated.