Felony Charges Against L’Daijohnique Lee, Victim of a Violent Attack in Texas, Dropped
A Black woman, L’Daijohnique Lee, was beaten by a white man holding a gun in a parking lot in Deep Ellum, a neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. And Dallas police actually filed a case against her for criminal mischief.
Lee’s attorney, S. Lee Merritt, tweeted:
“A Black woman alone in a dark parking lot is stalked, harassed and assaulted by a white male. He brandishes a gun, knocks away her phone when she tries to call for help— then beats her mercilessly with blows to the head. DPD just found a way to charge HER with a felony.”
A black woman alone in a dark parking lot is stalked, harassed and assaulted by a white male. He brandishes a gun, knocks away her phone when she tries to call for help— then beats her mercilessly with blows to the head. DPD just found a way to charge HER with a felony. #DaiLee pic.twitter.com/hMJab8UM3i
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) April 2, 2019
‘A violent barrage of punches to her head’
The incident began the night of March 21, according to Lee, when she pulled over on a one-way street and by accident blocked Austin Shuffield, 30, from exiting the parking lot. She said Shuffield accosted her with racial slurs.
According to a GoFundMe page, created by Merritt:
“When she asked Shuffield to back up his vehicle in order for her to move her car he refused. She then got into her car and drove on to the curb in order to clear the path and enter a parking lot.
“Shuffield, nevertheless, approached her vehicle a second time and continued to verbally berate and physically intimidate her. At some point during the altercation, Shuffield brandished a firearm and threatened the life of the victim.
“She, in turned, pulled out her phone and told Shuffield she was calling the police. Shuffield responded by launching a vicious assault against the woman, first slapping her phone from her hands and, when she attempted to push him away, launching a violent barrage of punches to her head causing significant injuries.”
The violent attack was caught on video.
Police arrested Shuffield after the attack and filed misdemeanor charges of assault and interfering with an emergency call, as well as public intoxication. He posted a $2,000 bond and was released from jail. Shuffield was fired from his job as a bartender.
Protests and rallies by civil rights activists and community members took place demanding an upgrade in charges against him.
Shuffield was booked into Dallas County Jail on March 29 and now faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawfully carrying a weapon, and a second-degree felony, which must be reviewed by a grand jury. The unlawful-carry charge came after it was determined he had a concealed handgun without a license, police said.
Lee Charged with Felony
On Tuesday, Lee was charged with felony criminal mischief for damaging Shuffield’s pickup truck after she was assaulted. Dallas Police Deputy Chief Thomas Castro announced that a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Lee said during a press conference that the charge was “basically like saying his truck was more valuable than my life.”
Civil rights groups protested on Wednesday at City Hall.
— Vernon Bryant (@VBdmnphoto) April 3, 2019
“The decision to file charges against L’Daijohnique Lee was based on her admission, evidence at the scene and statements obtained from witnesses,” police said on Wednesday.
But Kim Leach, a spokeswoman for Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, later announced the warrant accusing Lee of felony criminal mischief was recalled.
Creuzot made the right call in choosing not to prosecute.
“We don’t want to live in a society where victims are blamed for their own assault,” Merritt said after Creuzot’s decision. So we’re grateful to John Creuzot and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office dismissed those charges. It was the right thing to do.”
***JUST IN***@MeritLaw addresses media following the dismissal of L’Daijohnique Lee’s criminal mischief charge.
— Matt Howerton (@HowertonNews) April 3, 2019