April 20, 2024

Black Man Elected Mayor in Alabama Removed from Office by White Officials: Lawsuit

  • Patrick Braxton, 57, says he was elected mayor of Newbern, Alabama in 2020.
  • According to the law, white officials conspired to hold a secret election to remove Braxton.
  • Newbern’s population is about 80% Black and 20% white, court documents say.

There is a Black man in Newbern, Alabama who won his town’s election as mayor now suing said the town’s current mayor, saying he conspired to hold a special election to keep himself in power.

Patrick Braxton, 57, is one of several plaintiffs in a federal civil lawsuit filed against the city’s current mayor and other city officials. The other plaintiffs are people Braxton decided to appoint after he took office, ie. according to CBS.

The lawsuit was filed in Southern Alabama District Court on April 14.

Braxton said in the lawsuit that Mayor Woodburn “Woody” Stokes – who is white – conspired with other officials to hide the date Braxton needed to submit his paperwork to run for mayor.

By law, Newbern is a “small municipality” in Hale County, Alabama with a population that is 80% Black and 20% white, according to the law.

According to Braxton, he was the only person to submit paperwork to run for mayor of Newbern by July 16, 2020, the deadline for the 2020 mayoral election. Woodburn filed his paperwork to intend to run on July 18, 2020, two days after the deadline, Braxton says in court documents seen by Insider.

Braxton added that all the city council members at the time also signed up their paperwork to run late.

By law, the city council was notified in August 2020 that Braxton was the rightful incoming mayor, but the city council called an undisclosed special meeting, in which it passed a city resolution creating a new election and moving the deadline to file back the candidacy.

“The defendants did not inform any public or citizens of the City about the election,” the lawsuit says. “In fact, the Defendants deliberately hid the deadlines so that they could claim that they were the only candidates for the Mayor and City Council to file candidacy papers.”

Braxton says in the lawsuit that the second election never happened, and that no one knew about it until Braxton found the minutes of the canceled City Hall meeting. In the minutes, a councilor introduces a motion announcing that Braxton is the mayor who runs unanimously, but Woody then says that Braxton’s election was a “mistake” and needs to be corrected by a new election, the lawsuit says.

Newbern officials did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment Sunday.

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