The young Black woman who was brutally beaten by a white supremacist in Deep Ellum, Texas, last week said she’s been so fearful since the attack that she has had to sleep in hotels.
“I’m scared. I don’t know who is following me, who is behind me, who is watching me,” L’daijohnique Lee said. “My body still hurts. Everything still hurts.”
Lee spoke out Monday as community outrage continues over the vicious assault that was captured on a viral video.
As reported by the Dallas News, civil rights activists, domestic violence survivors, clergy and protesters have called on officials to upgrade the charges against her attacker, Austin Shuffield.
Shuffield, a former bartender at High & Tight, is now out of jail after posting a $2,000 bond.
“[Shuffield] is still essentially at large,” said Lee Merritt, an attorney for Lee. “Until he is re-arrested, Ms. Lee is not safe.”
Protesters at Dallas City Hall on Monday noted that Shuffield received lesser charges because he’s white.
“You let this man back out on the streets,” activist Olinka Green told city officials. “What does this say to black women like me?”
According to police records, the March 21 assault occurred after Shuffield and Lee got into a dispute in a parking lot. The argument turned physical when Shuffield slapped the cell phone out of her hand as she tried to call 911.
Shuffield has been charged with two Class A misdemeanors for assault causing bodily injury and interference with an emergency call, according to arrest records. He also received a Class C misdemeanor citation for public intoxication, the report states.
The victim, meanwhile, said she’s still recovering from the injuries she sustained. A doctor recommended she see a facial surgeon and neurological specialist to continue treatment for a concussion and swollen jaw.
Lelani Russell, a domestic violence survivor who spoke at the City Council meeting, said what many in the room agreed with: “Had it been a white woman and a black man, we would not be having this conversation.”
Merritt praised the protests, noting that they prove “how the Dallas community values black women.”
He said the protesters were saying, “your life matters, what happened to you matters.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement on his personal Facebook page the assault was “not acceptable under any circumstances.”
The mayor hopes the “role race played in this assault by a white man on a black woman must also be investigated.”
A spokesman with the Dallas Police Department said that the investigation is still ongoing.