Charges Filed After Armed All-White Mob Led By Off-Duty Deputy ‘Terrorized’ Black Family in North Carolina
An incident in which an armed all-white mob “terrorized” a black teenager and his family has resulted in criminal charges against the off-duty sheriff’s deputy who led the group, as well as one other man.
Last week, an attorney for the family of Dameon Shepard wrote a letter detailing an incident in which an all-white mob led by off-duty New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy J.T. Kita “terrorized” the teenager and his family over a case of mistaken identity — and authority:
In a letter addressed to New Hanover and Pender County District Attorney Ben David, James Lea claims the armed group of people, all white, knocked on the door of the home of Monica Shepard late Sunday night. Shepard was asleep, but her son, Dameon, a high school senior, was awake and playing video games in the front of the home located in the Avendale community in Pender County. The Shepards are African-American.
When Dameon answered the door, Lea says the group demanded to know information about a young missing girl. The group was apparently looking for an individual named Josiah, who lived next door to the Shepards but left that neighborhood a month earlier.
Lea says Dameon identified himself by name several times, but the group continued to press for information that he did not have.
Among the people on the Shepard’s porch demanding answers was a person carrying an assault weapon and another with a shotgun, Lea wrote in the letter.
Also part of the group was an off-duty member of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Lea says Deputy J.T. Kita, who works in the detention division, was in uniform and armed.
When Dameon attempted to shut the door after telling the group who he was, Lea says the New Hanover County deputy stuck his foot in the door and demanded to come inside.
When Ms. Shepard woke up and came to the door, the deputy also blocked her from closing the door as the group demanded to come inside. The attorney said that Pender County deputies who responded to the disturbance made no attempt to detain or identify members of the mob.
On Friday, however, District Attorney Ben David and Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler held a press conference to announce criminal charges in the incident. David announced that Deputy Kita became former Deputy Kita on Friday, and is being charged with forcible trespass, breaking and entering, and willful failure to discharge duties, while another man, Austin Wood, is being charged with “going armed to the terror of the community.”
This incident occurred the same week that 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his 34-year-old son, Travis McMichael, were arrested for murder and aggravated assault in the Feb. 23 killing of unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, which many have described as a “lynching.”
Watch the press conference above via WECT.
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