An 11-year-old black girl from Aiken was allegedly assaulted by a white woman after she falsely accused the juvenile of stealing her mail. The victim, Skhylur Davis, was sent by her grandmother to pick up her mail when the accused, Elizabeth Shirey, confronted her, The Augusta Chronicle reports.
Shirey has been charged with assault and battery in the 3rd degree for the May 11 incident. Speaking at a news conference via zoom, both Skhylur and her attorney, Justin Bamberg, alleged the assault was racially motivated.
“We shouldn’t have to sit here and have this discussion in 2020, in South Carolina on the heels of Ahmaud Arbery down in Brunswick, Georgia, a situation which the world is very much familiar,” Bamberg said. “Right here in Aiken, South Carolina we have another victim and this time, the charge is assault and battery. The victim unfortunately is an 11-year-old girl.”
Per the incident report by the Aiken Department of Public Safety, the juvenile, after picking her grandmother’s mail, proceeded to leave the premises but was confronted by Shirey after she saw Skhylur standing close to her mailbox. Shirey accused Skhylur of stealing her mail and demanded her to return it after approaching her in an “aggressive manner,” the victim told officers, The Augusta Chronicle further reports.
“Mrs. Shirey happens to see this young child by her mailbox and proceeds to come out of her home, yell at this 11-year-old girl. Mrs. Shirey runs aggressively towards this 11-year-old child accusing her of committing a felony, stealing her mail,” Bamberg elaborated. “After realizing that Shkylur had not done anything wrong, this woman proceeds to offer her cookies, as though that makes things better.”
Another juvenile, who witnessed the incident confirmed what transpired. Skhylur, who was grabbed by the arm and pulled, was only released by the accused after she checked the mail and realized it wasn’t hers. Shirey then apologized.
Shirey’s husband, who was also present during the incident, was also allegedly hostile towards the juveniles. Skhylur alleged he told her it would have been a different story if she was a different “type,” according to The Augusta Chronicle.
“You don’t have to think about what type he meant,” Skhylur said at the news conference.
“There are zero reason to prejudge people the way we are seeing people being prejudged in America,” Bamberg also said.
Skhylur’s grandmother, who said she typically sends her granddaughter to pick up her mail, also condemned the incident.
“She was violated,” she said. “Growing up in the South, we had to endure this, our parents had to endure this. It’s 2020, we will not have our children go through what we had to go through.”
Though Skhylur said she wasn’t scared during the confrontation, she said the ongoing prejudice against black people isn’t right. In an email to The Augusta Chronicle citing the Ahmaud Arbery killing, she said it would have been a completely different situation if Arbery was white.
“I wasn’t scared because in this type of situation, you need to do anything but be scared,” Skhylur said. “It shouldn’t be like this and it’s wrong.”
Bamberg is also adamant they’ll do whatever within their means to ensure the law takes its course so as to deter others from repeating similar offences.
“This is bigger than just Mrs. Shirey and what happened. This is a small piece of a much larger puzzle, we want people to understand that you need to think before you act,” he said. “People need to stop judging other people based on what they look like, based on the color of their skin. We want the criminal justice system in Aiken County to make an example out of Mrs. Shirey to deter other people from doing the same thing again.”