Deep Ellum News

Dallas police issue statement re: brutal assault in Deep Ellum by bartender

Dallas police issue statement re: bartender assault in Deep Ellum

Austin Shuffield mug shot
Austin Shuffield mug shot. Courtesy photo

The Dallas Police Department has issued a statement regarding a violent assault that occurred in Deep Ellum on March 21, one that made international news.

Austin Shuffield, 30, who worked as a bartender in Deep Ellum, is suspected of drunkenly assaulting a woman named L'Daijohnique Lee, 24, after he told her to move a vehicle.

The assault, which took place at 4:30 am, was captured on video by a witness. It was posted on Facebook and YouTube, and has drawn coverage from news outlets around the world, both for its graphic brutality, and because Shuffield is white and Lee is African American.

Shuffield was charged with misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury and interference with an emergency call. He posted a $2,000 bond and is free.

In the arrest warrant, Lee states she was driving the wrong way on a one-way street and stopped to let a friend out. She moved her car into a parking lot, where Shuffield allegedly approached her car to get a picture of her license plate, at which point she told him to get back or she would mace him.

The video shows Shuffield as he confronts Lee, pulls a gun from his pants, then smacks her cell phone out of her hand. She swings at him and he responds by fiercely punching her five times, then kicks her cell phone, and the video ends.

In response to the assault, protestors took to Deep Ellum on March 23, congregating around High & Tight Barber Shop & Bar, where Shuffield worked. The bar was forced to shut down for the weekend, due to the onslaught of attacks it experienced in the aftermath. Shuffield was fired on March 23.

Lee hired civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who has called for additional charges against Shuffield including felony assault and hate-crime charges.

Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot, who could possibly file further charges, posted an update on Facebook, saying, "The magistrate judge on duty was solely responsible for the bond amount. The police filed the case as misdemeanor assault, not the DA. The DA's office is not even yet in possession of the case file from DPD and the police have not completed their investigation."

The Dallas Police Department's statement is as follows:

"The Dallas Police Department is investigating a physical altercation that occurred recently in Deep Ellum. This physical altercation was filmed and the video subsequently circulated around the country.

"The Dallas Police Department shares in the sentiment that the altercation captured on camera is deeply disturbing.

"Based on the initial evidence gathered by responding officers, the man was immediately arrested and charged with Assault-Bodily Injury and Interfering with an Emergency Call, both are Misdemeanors.

"This is still an ongoing investigation and it is imperative that we are thorough and deliberate. Detectives in this case are still interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence and will determine what if any additional charges should be filed. This offense is documented on Case Number 056082-2019."