Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson sued over alleged scuffle

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson was sued by a man who claims he was roughed up by the civil rights activist and members of his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

The suit filed in Superior Court on Wednesday also names Jackson's son Jonathan along with Gregory Mathis, star of the television show "Judge Mathis."

The suit, which alleges assault and civil rights violations, seeks at least $25,000.

"The charges are absolutely untrue and our lawyers will be responding in an appropriate way," said Tracy K. Rice, chief of the Los Angeles bureau of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

The suit says Jesse Lee Peterson was assaulted at a December 10 coalition meeting in Los Angeles, where he raised concerns about a deal Jackson had reached with Toyota Motor Sales USA.

The auto company has agreed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to train and hire more minorities, buy from minority companies and work with minority advertisers.

Peterson's suit contends that after he questioned whether any of the money would go to conservative minorities, Jackson's son and other coalition members surrounded him and pushed him toward the exit.

Jackson "did nothing to restrain, but actively incited, participated in, egged on, approved and ratified the mob pursuit," the lawsuit alleges.

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