Dallas Drops Felony Charge Against Black Woman Attacked By White Man

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot dismissed a felony charge against a Black woman who was allegedly assaulted by a man in parking lot on March 21, according to county officials. On Tuesday, the Dallas Police Department issued a criminal warrant for L'Daijohnique Lee for damages caused to Austin Shuffield’s truck following an alleged assault against Lee, which was caught on camera. There was more than $2,500 in damage to the vehicle, which is considered a felony. The warrant was also recalled, local press indicated.

The video showed Shuffield screaming at Lee when she blocked his truck at a Deep Ellum parking lot near the bar the man previously worked, Dallas Observer reported. In the video, Shuffield brandished what appeared to be a pistol, prompting Lee to call 911. Soon after, Lee hit Shuffield after he slapped her phone out of her hand, and the man punched her at least five times. Authorities charged Shuffield with misdemeanor assault, the Observer added.

Lee’s lawyer, Lee Merritt, expressed disgust following the charge against his client. “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,” he tweeted on April 2.

He added a second tweet the same day: “Victims of savage assaults cannot logically be held responsible for damage done to their assailants property during or immediately after their attack. Of course contexts matters and the decision to charge is a clear abuse of discretion.”

https://twitter.com/MeritLaw/status/1113203879812980738 Lee told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday that she was angry about the charge filed against her. She said she felt like the Dallas Police Department thought that “his truck was more valuable than my life.”

She also told local channel KXAS-TV that she has suffered a concussion, a black eye, a swelling in her jaw, and an injury to her ear. Lee added that she had been in the emergency room at least three times since the altercation, and had received referrals to a facial surgeon and a psychiatrist.

Merritt also addressed the press in the wake of the dismissal. “We don’t want to live in a society where victims are blamed for their own assault,” he said.

The lawyer has opened a GoFundMe account to help Lee cover expenses. At the time of publish, $14,137 has been raised of the $15,000 goal. “We must support each other. We are no different from any other group of people when it comes down to the essential need for Unity. Much Love sis we hope this makes things a little easier for you,” a donor wrote.

Meanwhile, Shuffield is facing three misdemeanor charges, while a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was referred to the grand jury, KXAS added. He will appear in court for the first time on April 12.


About the Author

Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He’s a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and US politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.