A Dallas bartender was arrested after allegedly brutally assaulting a woman in a Deep Ellum parking lot near his (now former) place of work. The victim’s attorney said that the attack was racially motivated and called for additional action including hate crime charges.
An arrest warrant for 30-year-old Austin Shuffield charged him with assault causing bodily injury, interference with an emergency call, and public intoxication according to the arrest warrant.
Police said that they responded to a call on the 2800 block of Elm Street around 4:30am on Wednesday (3.20).
The 24-year-old victim, who requested anonymity through her lawyer Lee Merritt, told the officers that after dropping her friends at a hostel, she found herself driving the wrong way down a one-way street. She then stopped her car to correct the situation.
At that point, Shuffield exited his truck and told the woman that she was blocking his path out of a parking lot according to police.
The woman then pulled out of the way and into the parking lot. Shuffield approach her car and tried to take pictures of her license plate stated authorities.
An argument ensued according to the police report.
Merritt added that Shuffield “verbally accosted [the victim] with racial slurs and other racist remarks.”
The warrant states that after Shuffield pulled out a gun, the woman attempted to call 911.
A witness recorded this part of the exchange on their phone. The footage shows a man, identified as Shuffield, slapping the phone out of the victim’s hand while holding what appears to be a pistol in his other hand. The woman can be seen hitting the man in response. Then, Shuffield is seen winding up and punching the woman five times with a closed fist before kicking her phone away. At one point in the violent sequence, the woman crouches over, cradling her head; the suspect responds by landing another blow to her head.
“He charged at me, and he just kept hitting me, and I was like ‘ok, ok, ok’,” Lee told San Angelo TV station, KIDY10. “Watching that video literally makes me cry. All I could do was try and protect myself.”
Police said that Shuffield argued self-defense. He told the responding officers that the woman hit him, threatened to pepper spray him, and broke the back windshield of his truck.
The arrest warrant also noted that Shuffield smelled of alcohol.
On Thursday night, Shuffield was booked into Dallas County Jail. He was released on a $2000 bond around 2am on Friday.
On Friday morning Merritt said that the victim “is currently hospitalized and recovering from the injuries she sustained in the attack including post concussion syndrome and cranial swelling.”
The attorney’s statement also pushed for additional action against Shuffield.
“Our office is speaking with the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office to ensure all appropriate charges are pursued including felony assault, firearm and hate crime related charges,” he declared.
Shuffield’s personal Facebook page included a post in which he compared the Black Lives Matter movement to a “Black KKK.” That account has since been deleted.
Screenshots of racist tweets from an account allegedly belonging to Shuffield include threats of violence against another black woman; however, the account was also recently deleted and Neat Pour is unable to confirm the authenticity of these tweets.
Until Thursday evening, Shuffield was employed at the High & Tight Barbershop. The barber shop and speakeasy combo is located literally around the corner from the site of the attack. High and Tight said that they fired the bartender after speaking with authorities.
“we [sic] have finally spoke with police representatives and have terminated this employee,” read a statement on the bar’s Facebook page. “We do not stand behind the actions that took place and hope that the full weight of the law comes down on this incident. We have tried to approach this situation the best as we possibly can. Thank you.”
However, High & Tight did not remove Shuffield’s photo from their social media, a fact that did not go unnoticed by some outraged Facebook users. Hundreds of comments condemning prejudice, Shuffield, and often the barber shop/bar.
The assault also made national news and garnered the attention of activist Shaun King.