There was shock and outrage across Twitter after news circulated on social media that the Dallas Police Department earlier on Tuesday charged a Black woman with a felony after she was seen on video getting brutally beaten by a racist White man.
As we reported, authorities charged L’Daijohnique Lee with criminal mischief in last month’s confrontation with bartender Austin Shuffield in a Dallas parking lot on March 21. She allegedly damaged her attacker’s pickup truck after the violent attack in the neighborhood of Deep Ellum.
During the dispute that escalated, Lee’s attacker reportedly called her a “stupid nigger” and pulled out a gun before punching her with uppercuts to the head and body that left her unconscious.
Shuffield was released on $2,000 bond the same day he was locked up for attacking the 24-year-old woman. He was initially charged with misdemeanor assault. After angry public protests about the slap on the wrist, the police upgraded the charges against Shuffield to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony and unlawfully carrying a weapon.
Dallas Police Deputy Chief Thomas Castro at a news conference on Tuesday made a statement about charges against Lee that’s likely to add fuel to the fire.
“It’s not the intention of the Dallas Police Department to pick one side or the other. We value all of our citizens,” he said.
It was not clear earlier on Tuesday when the police would arrest Lee, WFAA-TV reported. In Texas, criminal mischief is a state jail felony if the damage costs $2,500 to $30,000. Lee allegedly caused thousands of dollars of damage to Shuffield’s truck.
The viral video of the attack appears to show Shuffield holding a gun in one hand as he slaps away Lee’s cellphone. She was reportedly attempting to call 911. Lee responded to Shuffield’s aggression by shoving him away, but he retaliated by punching her multiple times.
Here’s a video clip that contains graphic content.
After the video went viral, dozens of protesters took to the streets to call for felony hate crime charges against Shuffield.
“A black woman was violently assaulted in Dallas, TX by a white supremacist. The response by the criminal justice system was woefully insufficient. Now it’s time to get that corrected,” Merritt tweeted.
A fresh round of protests was expected to take place on Wednesday at Dallas’ City Hall.