A North Carolina Appeals Court judge accused of nearly driving his car into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters was on Friday issued a criminal court summons to answer to a charge in connection to the incident.
According to ABC News, the protesters had gathered at a traffic circle in Fayetteville on May 7 when a car being reportedly driven by Judge John M. Tyson almost hit them. Per surveillance footage of the incident, the SUV in question is seen circling a roundabout and driving past the protesters at a certain point. The vehicle drives around the traffic circle again and into the spot where the protesters are standing. The innermost lane Tyson drives into is reportedly not open to vehicular traffic and the protesters do not appear to be blocking vehicular movement.
That part of the roundabout – which vehicles aren’t supposed to drive into – is painted with a message that reads, “Black Lives Do Matter. End Racism Now.”
Tyson was issued the criminal summons after one of the demonstrators, Myah Warren, swore before a Cumberland County magistrate that the judge almost ran into her with his vehicle, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
Per WRAL-TV, the criminal summons alleges Tyson “unlawfully and willfully did assault Myahtaeyarra Warren with a deadly weapon, a white SUV … by driving [his] vehicle at a high rate of speed and attempting to hit her in the body.”
In an interview with The Fayetteville Observer, Tyson claimed the protesters were blocking vehicular movement and he called 911 to report them, adding that the protesters also surrounded his car at a certain point. The judge has been charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and he is scheduled to appear in court on June 21.
The traffic circle the alleged incident occurred is the site of the city’s historic but controversial Market House building. The landmark, which is almost 200 years old, was once a slave market. Last year, an online petition calling on authorities to demolish the building amassed over 100,000 signatures.
“Most African Americans in the city wish for it to be taken down and replaced with something more positive about African American history,” the petition read, according to ABC11. “The Market House building is a reminder of slavery and fuels white supremacy.”