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Deep Ellum Bar Forced to Close as Protesters Take the Streets Following Violent Assault

The alleged perpetrator is a former employee of High & Tight Barbershop

John Tornow/Flickr

Protesters filled the streets of Deep Ellum this weekend after video of a woman’s brutal assault went viral on social media.

On Saturday night, upwards of 70 people marched on Deep Ellum chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Shut them down!” in protest after the assault, according to the Dallas Morning News. The assault was caught on camera by a bystander, and has since been shared on social media millions of times, including by celebrities like Chelsea Handler and activist Shaun King.

Austin Shuffield, a former bartender at High & Tight Barbershop, has been charged with misdemeanor assault and interfering with an emergency call in relation to the incident, and many have called for harsher charges in light of the violence shown in that video, which shows a man alleged to be Sheffield punching a woman in the face repeatedly while carrying a gun. Lee Merritt, the victim’s attorney, told the Morning News that the woman sustained multiple injuries in the attack, including a perforated eardrum.

In a statement posted to its official Facebook page, the Dallas Police Department said that the assault is still under investigation, and described the footage as “deeply disturbing.” “This is still an ongoing investigation and it is imperative that we are thorough and deliberate,” the statement reads. “Detectives in this case are still interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence and will determine what if any additional charges should be filed.”

In response to these protests, High & Tight Barbershop closed its doors over the weekend and deleted all its social media accounts after allegedly receiving threats, according to the Dallas Observer. Its Yelp page is currently plastered with an “unusual activity alert” as a result of the dozens of negative reviews posted after Shuffield was identified by police. These reviews accuse the bar of knowingly hiring or continuing to employ a “racist, violent misogynist,” and many include screenshots of racist comments allegedly posted to Facebook by Shuffield.

High & Tight Barbershop is expected to reopen today. Shuffield was released on $2,000 bail from the Dallas County Jail last week, though Dallas County district attorney John Creuzot said in a statement that his office has not received the case file yet, which means that additional charges could be filed. Stay tuned for more details.

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