Woman cited for battery after accosting 11-year-old in racially motivated incident
SOUTH CAROLINA - A report from South Carolina authorities says an 11-year-old who was retrieving her grandmother's mail from her mailbox was accosted by a neighbor who assumed the child was a thief and now, the neighbor faces assault and battery charges.
According to CNN, the child who was getting her grandmother's mail is a young black girl named Skhylur Davis and the neighbor who faces assault and battery charges is 38-year-old Elizabeth Shirey, who happens to be white.
Shirley told officials she thought the little girl was stealing her mail and her attorney, Jim Huff, claims that Shirey never physically touched the child.
But an attorney representing the child insists that Shirey's actions were racially motivated.
"On the heels of the Ahmaud Arbery tragedy, there aren't any good reasons for an adult to prejudge an 11-year-old girl, wrongly accuse her of a crime and then assault her as she picked up her grandmother's mail," said Justin Bamberg, an attorney who represents Skhylur.
Skhylur's grandmother said the girl and three other children walked to get the grandmother's mail. With the post in her hand, Skhylur was standing at a mailbox when she was approached by a white woman identified as Shirey, according to the incident report.
Skhylur said Shirey "approached her in an aggressive manner and demanded her mail back," the report said. Skhylur told the woman the mail was not hers.
Skhylur says in the report Shirey attempted to grab the mail from her and in the process grabbed her by the arms and pulled them. When Shirey saw the address on the mail and realized it was not hers, she let go, Skhylur told APS.
Shirey told authorities she believed the girl had taken her mail. She yelled out to her, saying "Ma'am," and walked to Skhylur when there was no response, the report said.
Shirey admitted she tried to grab the mail but saw the address, "realized the person was a juvenile" and attempted to apologize. Skhylur said Shirey "offered to make it better by offering cookies," the report said.
Shirey's attorney, Jim Huff, said she "deeply regrets this incident."
"Based upon the girls delay at her mail box and not responding to her calling, Mrs. Shirey thought it was reasonable to ask if she could see the address on the envelopes," Huff said. "A request the girl refused."
"My client apologized to the girl and even offered to bake cookies and bring them to their home," Huff said. "Later, Skhylur's mother and grandmother came to my client's house. My client apologized to both of them.
"At that point what I find to be uplifting is that the girls' mother showed grace and understanding to my client and they both hugged each other before the mother left."
Shirey was issued a citation for third-degree assault and battery.
"It's unacceptable that in 2020 that we are still facing issues involving the safety of African-Americans as they endeavor to do the most mundane of tasks," Bamberg said.
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