Cancellation Of Juneteenth Event Prompts $4 Million Lawsuit

Columbus attorney Byron Potts brought the suit on behalf of his client Mustafaa Shabazz, the organizer of the Juneteenth event. Potts says the city discriminated against Shabazz because the event is an African-American festival.(Photo: Juneteenth Facebook page)
Columbus attorney Byron Potts brought the suit on behalf of his client Mustafaa Shabazz, the organizer of the Juneteenth event. Potts says the city discriminated against Shabazz because the event is an African-American festival.(Photo: Juneteenth Facebook page)

The City of Columbus is being sued for $4 million after this year’s annual Juneteenth celebration was shut down by city officials. A Saturday shooting caused the remainder of the 2-day event to be cancelled.

Columbus attorney Byron Potts brought the suit on behalf of his client Mustafaa Shabazz, the organizer of the Juneteenth event. Potts says the city discriminated against Shabazz because the event is an African-American festival.

“If you look at the other festivals that have had shootings and problems, they didn’t come in and shut them down. They didn’t deny them permits for the next year. That’s the equal protection argument that we have,” Potts says.

Potts says Shabazz’s reputation among venders and performers was severely damaged. The suit, Potts says, seeks in part to recover monetary damages.

“Damage to reputation is hard to quantify. To me, that’s an astronomical figure,” Potts says

Columbus city attorney Rick Pfeiffer says he has not seen the lawsuit and therefore declined to comment.

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