One week after a brutal assault on a Deep Ellum woman was captured on video, Dallas police have filed additional felony charges against the alleged assailant.
The Dallas Police Department announced on Facebook today that Austin Shuffield, formerly a bartender at Deep Ellum’s High and Tight Barbershop, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawfully carrying a weapon. Originally, Shuffield had only been charged with public intoxication, interference with an emergency call, and assault, all misdemeanors.
That decision sparked protests in Deep Ellum and led to calls for harsher charges against Shuffield, who was allegedly captured on video punching the woman, now identified as L’Daijohnique Lee, in the face multiple times while carrying a gun. In a Facebook post, Lee’s attorney Lee Merritt said that his client was “pleased” to learn that Shuffield will face more serious charges. “Ms. Lee will fully cooperate with DA John Creuzot who has indicated he would like to interview her directly in order to ensure a thorough presentation to the Grand Jury,” Merrit said in a statement. “We believe that additional details from the DA investigation will warrant hate crime enhancements as well.”
Still, Merritt criticized the Dallas police officer who arrested Shuffield for not filing the felony charges in the first place, and credited the backlash on social media and protests in Deep Ellum with spurring the police department to take action. “Despite reviewing video evidence, independent witness statements, securing a firearm and receiving the victim statement,” Merritt wrote. “However, we are grateful that after significant community backlash and protest more serious charges were perused. The delay however has allowed a dangerous assailant to continue to roam freely among the public and had caused Ms. Lee a great deal of unrest.”
Eater has reached out to the Dallas Police Department for more details on whether or not Shuffield has been arrested after the filing of these new charges. Stay tuned for an update.