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Attorneys For Dallas Man Accused Of Beating Woman In Parking Lot In Court Today

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The former Dallas bartender accused of beating a woman outside a Deep Ellum bar was expected to make a court appearance Friday morning, but attorneys representing him were the only ones who went to the Frank Crowley Courts Building.

Shuffield's attorneys were there to sign a document setting their client's next court date.

They say the case is in a holding pattern, because the Dallas Police Department has recommend Shuffield be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon -- a felony.

The Dallas County District Attorney has handed the case over to a grand jury for review, but Shuffield's attorneys say the charges he's facing aren't appropriate.

Police say Shuffield was caught on camera brutally attacking L'Daijohnique Lee last month.

Austin Shuffield
Austin Shuffield was fired from his job as a bartender at the High and Tight Barbershop and Speakeasy after his arrest for aggravated assault. (photo credit: Dallas Police Department)

Lee, 24, she said she had pulled into a parking lot and blocked Shuffield in as he was trying to leave. The man got out of his truck to ask her to move, but after he approached her the two began arguing.

In video, captured by a witness across the street, Shuffield is seen holding a gun by his side during part of the argument with Lee. At some point the 30-year-old man knocks Lee's cell phone out of her hand and she reacts by hitting him. Shuffield responds by punching Lee in the jaw and then hitting her violently four more times in the face and head.

There were protests and outrage when Shuffield was initially arrested only on Class A misdemeanor charges and his attorneys believe Dallas police acted prematurely because of that uproar. They say Shuffield feared for his life before the assault and didn't cause serious bodily injury to Lee. The lawyers also claim the victim didn't tell Shuffield she was calling 911, but instead announced that she was calling people to come and shoot him.

"That fact is not being reported," said Shuffield's Attorney, Rebekah Perlstein. "The narrative from [attorney] Lee Merritt and the narrative that's circulating is the only narrative that's being reported or that's out there... that she was stalked, that she was threatened, that she was harassed. The call that was being made [by alleged victim] is not the call for help that everyone thinks it is."

As for those people Lee was allegedly calling, Shuffield's lawyer Scott Palmer said, "Were not going to get into who and who they are - she knows who they are and it's out there and you'll find it and I'll be glad to present it to you in form and fashion when it's appropriate."

Merritt argues the accusations against his client are false and that in fact L'Daijohnique Lee did call 911.  Merritt further said his client's injuries were real and that she suffered a concussion, a swollen jaw and a black eye.
He also said Lee told him Shuffield called her "racial slurs" and made other "racist remarks."

Shuffield, who is also facing lesser charges for interfering with an emergency call, public intoxication and unlawfully carrying a weapon, is now expected to make his first court appearance in early May.

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