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Black Reporter Blasted With Racial Slurs

A relative of one of the people charged in an attack on a television reporter denied that her family attacked the woman because of her race, saying Wednesday they were upset because the news crew was reporting on the arrest of a family member.

CBS affiliate WSPA-TV reporter Charmayne Brown was standing in the street near the family's home in Union, S.C. when family members began yelling and charged at her, news director Alex Bongiorno said. Brown was punched in the head. Cameraman Ti Barnes was also struck as he tried to pull family members off Brown, Bongiorno said.

Brown and other witnesses of the attack said the four people, all white, yelled racial slurs and profanities as they attacked the reporter and cameraman, who are both black.

Neither Brown nor Barnes were charged because they acted in self-defense, police said.

Speaking to CBS' The Early Show, Brown said, "For me, the physical pain of the attack has faded, but the mental anguish will be hard to shake."

"I don't believe that because we have biracial children in our family," Doris Taylor said. "The police had done left, the coroner had done left, and they done took the body. And they were just wanting time to do a little bit of healing. And they asked them to leave and they wouldn't leave."

Taylor's daughter, Billie Joe Taylor was charged with assault and battery after the incident in Union on Tuesday, along with Tousha Smith and Trina Vinson. A fourth person, Robert Lee Harris, was arrested later and faces the same charge.

A white camera crew from a different station filmed much of the fight and was not attacked.

Brown was reporting on the death of 73-year-old Tommy Howell, who was killed by a blow to the head after an argument, authorities said. His body was found Tuesday in his home. Police arrested his grandson, Shane Howell, and charged him with murder, Union Public Safety Chief Sam White said.

"These people were very upset," White said. "I guess they just took it out the wrong way."

Shane Howell remains in jail, and it is unclear whether he has an attorney.

South Carolina has no law allowing a hate crime charge.

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