Even after 911 calls emerged recently, a civil rights attorney dismissed the self-defense claims of the drunken white man who was caught on video violently assaulting a Black woman last month in Dallas.
WFAA-TV said Monday it exclusively obtained two separate 911 calls. One was made by a witness to the attack and the other by Austin Shuffield, who was arrested for assaulting L’Daijohnique Lee in a March 21 dispute at a parking lot in the Deep Ellum section of the city.
The 911 audiotapes don’t reveal what happened before the calls were made. During the encounter, Shuffield called her a “stupid nigger,” according to Lee’s attorney S. Lee Merritt. She also reportedly placed a 911 call of her own about Shuffield, who was seen on video holding a gun.
In Shuffield’s call, he said, “She is threatening to bring another person out here to shoot up my vehicle. She threatened to mace me and uh, then she swung at me and hit me in the face, so I defended myself after that.”
But even with that call, civil rights attorney Jasmine Crockett wasn’t convinced that Shuffield’s self-defense argument would hold in court.
“We all know that it ended up with Austin delivering some pretty hefty blows to this young lady, and by law, I don’t see where he could legally place his hands on her like that,” Crockett said.
In the encounter between 30-year-old Shuffield and Lee, 24, Shuffield appears in the viral video to hold a gun in one hand as he slaps away Lee’s cellphone, reportedly while she was trying to make a 911 call. 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.
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. He also faces lesser charges for interfering with an emergency call and public intoxication.
The Dallas Police Department ignited more controversy when it 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.
The emergency call from the witness painted a picture of a frantic scene. “They are going off on each other like crazy. I can still hear them scream at each other,” the witness said. Lee is reportedly heard on the audiotape calling Shuffield a “trash-a– n—–,” WFAA-TV said.
In the end, angry words just don’t justify the beating Lee received.