Attorneys for the white man who violently attacked a Black woman last month want to change the narrative about what the world saw on a video.
In trying to justify his brutal attack, the lawyers for 30-year-old Austin Shuffield said on Friday that he feared for his life after L’Daijohnique Lee took out her cell phone to call 911 during their March 21 confrontation at a parking lot in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, CBS News Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
Shuffield claimed that Lee, 24, did not tell him that she was calling 911. According to Shuffield, Lee said that she was calling people to shoot him. The bartender, who reportedly called Lee “a stupid nigger” before punching her multiple times, also downplayed the injuries he caused.
Lee’s attorney, S. Lee Merritt, said Shuffield is lying and that she did indeed call 911. Merritt added that Lee’s injuries are real, including a concussion and a black eye from the punches to her head and body that are clearly seen on video.
“The narrative from [attorney] Lee Merritt and the narrative that’s circulating is the only narrative that’s being reported or that’s out there… that she was stalked, that she was threatened, that she was harassed. The call that was being made [by alleged victim] is not the call for help that everyone thinks it is,” Shuffield’s attorney, Rebekah Perlstein, babbled.
Her comments came on the day that Shuffield’s legal team showed up to court and signed a document to schedule his next court date.
Shuffield was released on $2,000 bond the same day he was locked up for attacking Lee. He was initially charged with misdemeanor assault. After angry public protests about the slap on the wrist, the police upgraded the charges to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony, and unlawfully carrying a weapon.
The Dallas Police Department ignited controversy when they also charged Lee with a felony on April 2. She was accused of damaging Shuffield’s pickup truck after he violently attacked her. However, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot declined to prosecute her.
In the fateful encounter caught on video that has since gone viral, Shuffield appears to hold a gun in one hand as he slaps away Lee’s cellphone. 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.