Alice Patterson says her family is "hurt and upset" after an alleged assault that occurred against her granddaughter May 11.
The family of Skyhlur Davis, an 11-year-old African American juvenile, is working to raise awareness of what they believe to be a racially charged incident, resulting in a white Aiken woman being charged with assault.
In a Tuesday morning video news conference, Justin Bamberg, Davis' attorney and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives, expressed the need for awareness of the assault while the case goes through the criminal justice system.
On May 11, police responded to Minikada Court in Aiken in reference to an assault, according to an incident report by the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
Patterson, a resident of the area, reported to police that Davis and three other juveniles were checking the mail for her and were walking along Whitemarsh Drive in Aiken.
Davis reported to police that she had stopped at a mailbox while carrying her grandmother's mail and was approached in an "aggressive manner" by the suspect, Elizabeth Diane Shirey, a 38-year-old white female, of Aiken, according to the report.
The suspect allegedly accused the victim of stealing her mail and then demanded the mail back from the victim.
"The victim was caught off guard and told Shirey the mail was not hers," the report reads.
The victim reported the suspect attempted to grab the mail and in the process, grabbed and pulled her by the arms, according to the police report.
The suspect was able to see the address on the mail and realized it was not hers and let go, the report states.
The victim also reported the suspect's husband attempted to intervene during the encounter and was "rude" toward the group, according to the report.
"He said, 'If you were a different type of guy, then this would have been another story,'" Davis said Tuesday.
Davis further reported the suspect apologized and "offered to make it better" by offering cookies, the report states.
The encounter was corroborated by another juvenile at the scene.
Police spoke with the suspect, who stated she looked outside and noticed someone standing near her mailbox, the report states.
The suspect told police she tried yelling "ma'am" at the person but did not receive a response.
She then walked toward the person while asking if the person was holding her mail, the suspect told police.
The suspect stated she attempted to grab the mail away but was able to see the mail was not addressed to her, according to the report.
The suspect said she then realized the person was a juvenile and attempted to apologize.
Shirey was issued a citation, charging her with third degree assault and battery.
The Aiken Department of Public Safety issued Shirey a citation instead of incarcerating her due to her charge being a low-level misdemeanor, Lt. Jake Mahoney said Tuesday.
"This practice has become more common during the COVID-19 State of Emergency when jail and detention center populations are attempting to reduce the number of incarcerated individuals," Mahoney said. "This practice is in place in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus and protect those individuals currently incarcerated."
"We're hurt, we're upset and we're angry," Patterson said Tuesday. "She's angry and hurt. She was violated. 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."
Bamberg drew comparisons between the case in Aiken with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.
Arbery, 25, was killed Feb. 23, the Associated Press reported.
Gregory McMichael, 64, told police he and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, pursued Arbery because they believed he was responsible for recent break-ins in the neighborhood.
The McMichaels weren't arrested and charged with murder until May 7, after a video of the shooting was publicly released to a local radio station and less than 48 hours after state agents took over the case.
"We shouldn’t even have to sit here and have this discussion in 2020 in South Carolina," Bamberg said. "Right here in Aiken, S.C., we have another victim, and this time the charge is assault and battery and the victim is unfortunately an 11-year-old girl.”
The Aiken Standard has reached out to Shirey for comment but has not received a response.
Shirey is scheduled for trial on July 15, according to the citation issued.