*A white South Carolina woman is facing assault and battery charges after she laid hands on an 11-year-old Black girl that she thought was stealing her mail.
The girl, Skhylur Davis, was retrieving her grandmother’s mail when she was confronted by neighbor Elizabeth Shirey, 38, according to the May 11 Aiken Public Safety incident report, via CNN.
The girl’s attorney believes 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,” Justin Bamberg, an attorney who represents Davis, said in a statement.
An attorney for Shirey said she “deeply regrets this incident.”
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The family of Skhylur Davis says she was accused by a 38-year-old woman for stealing her mail and then assaulted in Aiken County https://t.co/aACFHLpBU6
— WFXG FOX 54 (@WFXGFOX54) May 19, 2020
“My understanding is there was never any touching of this girl,” attorney Jim Huff said in an email to CNN. “There absolutely was nothing racial in this case.”
But Skhylur says Shirey’s husband told her that the incident would not have happened if she had been a different “type.”
“You don’t have to think about what type he meant,” said the child.
According to the incident report, Skhylur claims Shirley “approached her in an aggressive manner and demanded her mail back.” When Skhylur told the woman the mail was not hers, Shirey attempted to grab the mail from her and in the process grabbed the child’s by the arms and pulled them.
Only when Shirey saw the address on the mail was not hers did she let the girl let go. Shirey also admitted that she “realized the person was a juvenile” and attempted to apologize “by offering cookies,” the report said.
“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,” he added. “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 has been 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.