Woman charged with assault of black girl she believed was stealing her mail. The girl’s attorney says it was racially motivated

Skhylur Davis said she was accosted while getting her grandmother's mail. (Courtesy Ryan Julison)

A South Carolina woman who faces assault and battery charges told officials she thought her mail was being stolen by an 11-year-old.

The girl, Skhylur Davis, who is black said she was getting her grandmother's mail when she was accosted by Elizabeth Shirey, 38, who is white, according to the May 11 Aiken Public Safety incident report.

The girl's attorney says Shirey's actions were racially motivated.

"On the heels of the Ahmaud Arbery tragedy, there aren't any good reasons for an adult to prejudge an 11-year-old girl, wrongly accuse her of a crime and then assault her as she picked up her grandmother's mail," Justin Bamberg, an attorney who represents Skhylur, said in a statement to CNN.

An attorney for Shirey said she "deeply regrets this incident."

"My understanding is there was never any touching of this girl," attorney Jim Huff said in an email to CNN. "There absolutely was nothing racial in this case."

Details from the report

Skhylur's grandmother said the girl and three other children walked to get the grandmother's mail. With the post in her hand, Skhylur was standing at a mailbox when she was approached by a white woman identified as Shirey, according to the incident report.

Skhylur said Shirey "approached her in an aggressive manner and demanded her mail back," the report said. Skhylur told the woman the mail was not hers.

Skhylur says in the report Shirey attempted to grab the mail from her and in the process grabbed her by the arms and pulled them. When Shirey saw the address on the mail and realized it was not hers, she let go, Skhylur told APS.

Shirey told authorities she believed the girl had taken her mail. She yelled out to her, saying "Ma'am," and walked to Skhylur when there was no response, the report said.

Shirey admitted she tried to grab the mail but saw the address, "realized the person was a juvenile" and attempted to apologize. Skhylur said Shirey "offered to make it better by offering cookies," the report said.

Shirey’s account

"Based upon the girls delay at her mail box and not responding to her calling, Mrs. Shirey thought it was reasonable to ask if she could see the address on the envelopes," Huff said. "A request the girl refused."

"My client apologized to the girl and even offered to bake cookies and bring them to their home," Huff said. "Later, Skhylur's mother and grandmother came to my client's house. My client apologized to both of them.

"At that point what I find to be uplifting is that the girls' mother showed grace and understanding to my client and they both hugged each other before the mother left."

Shirey was issued a citation for third-degree assault and battery.

“It’s unacceptable that in 2020 that we are still facing issues involving the safety of African-Americans as they endeavor to do the most mundane of tasks,” Bamberg said.