Attorney: 'Honest concern' sparked Aiken incident thought by family to be racially tinged

Thursday, May 21, 2020

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- For the first time, the attorney of the woman accused of assaulting an 11-year-old is speaking on camera.

Elizabeth Shirey, 38, is charged with assault after she thought 11-year-old Skhylur Davis was stealing from her mailbox. It turns out, Davis was getting her grandmother’s mail.

In a case labeled by one side as racially-charged, the defense says it’s just an honest mistake. Attorney Jim Huff asks what would you do if you saw someone of any color standing outside your mailbox, holding mail?

"I think it’s reasonable to at least have a concern What are you doing at my mailbox? Why would you stop?" Huff said.

An honest concern, that’s all Huff says this was, but Davis felt it was something more.

"I feel like this has something to do with my race because the fact that the husband said, 'If you were a different type of person, this would have been a different story,'" Davis said in an interview several days ago.

The incident report never mentions any racial interaction, and Huff says his client’s husband denies ever saying that.

"It was said that whether you are male, female, purple, green; it would have made no difference. We would have wanted to know whose mail it was."

Huff says his client also denies “grabbing and pulling [Davis' arms].”

But as Davis and her attorney, Justin Bamberg, argue, this case is about the racial prejudices that exist in our country.

"People need to stop judging other people based on what they look like," Bamberg said.

Huff says the problem is assuming any interaction between a white and black person is racially-charged.

"We jump to conclusions," Huff said. "We don’t give benefits of the doubt. We’re not as open in forgiveness as I think we ought to be."

Speaking of forgiveness, Huff said after the incident at the mailbox, Davis' mother went to Shirey's home to ask about what happened, and it ended in the two women hugging.

Davis' mother did not speak at Tuesday's press conference.

Shirey is charged with third-degree assault and battery and according to her citation, is scheduled to appear in court on July 15.

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