DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Attorneys representing the Deep Ellum assault suspect spoke to the media for the first time and dispute claims by the victim and her attorney.
The assault made headlines after a witness recorded video of the incident on a cell phone.
The video initially shows Austin Shuffield pulling out a gun and later knocking the cell phone out of L’Daijohnique Lee’s hand while she claimed she was calling 911.
She is seen hitting Shuffield, then he repeatedly punches her.
His attorney, Scott Palmer said he did not make a racial slur during the assault. “It’s really doing a disservice to legitimate hate crimes. This is not a hate crime.”
Palmer said the victim never mentioned to police initially that Shuffield made a racial slur.
But in a statement Friday, Lee’s attorney, Lee Merritt says, “Ms. Lee told me about the racial slurs in response to a specific inquiry. She did not realize there was a legal significance in the use of racial language during the attack. She instead focused on the gun and brutal beating.”
Shuffield is facing four charges: Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, and three misdemeanors: public intoxication, unlawful carrying a weapon, and interfering with an emergency call.
But Rebekah Perlstein, who also represents Shuffield, said the DA’s office hasn’t located a 911 call that she made. “She called people to come and shoot him. So that fact is not being reported. “The call that’s being made is not the call for help that everyone thinks it was. It was a call to other people.”
Merritt though said, “After the attack, she called her family for help – as would any other woman in that situation. She is not a liar, suspect or conspirator. She is the victim.”
The DA’s office has referred this case to a grand jury.
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