Melissa Shelton, of Texas, indicted on felony criminal mischief charge after being accused of smashing interracial couple's car windows. The couple's attorney says she used racial slurs and has called it a hate crime https://t.co/fo5NhHbgCH pic.twitter.com/CmCixzMGnA— Heavy.com (@HeavySan) February 2, 2018
A white Texas woman faces charges of felony mischief for allegedly smashing the car windows of an interracial couple that was checking out a house in her neighborhood.
According to The Root, the Chapa family, consisting of Jason, who is Mexican-American, and Victoria, who is African-American, were leaving a family event in Marion, Texas, when they stopped by a developing area to scope out a potential new home for themselves and their young daughter.
They got out of their car to walk around the property, and as they were walking behind the house, they heard shattering glass. They hurried back to the front of the house where they found 29-year-old Melissa Shelton going to town on their front windshield and back driver’s side window.
Shelton allegedly began shouting racial slurs at the couple, calling them “ni**ers” and “sp*cs” who were too poor to afford a home in her neighborhood.
The Chapas called 911 and reported the incident, but when two deputies arrived on the scene, Shelton and her partner, Mason Mycue, told authorities that they had just gotten home when the Chapas accused them of smashing the windows in their car.
“The local police, of course, did nothing. The neighborhood housing association, the local realtors, all offered nothing but a silent endorsement of the attack,” attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents the Chapas, wrote in a Facebook post following the incident. “This was not Black History Month. This is not black history. This didn’t happen 50 years ago. It happened a few weeks ago. This is America 2018.”
Apparently, after the initial denial, Mycue offered to pay for the broken windows upon realizing Shelton had been caught in the act. However, he was not indicted on charges resulting from the incident.
The local Marion Police Department didn’t even bother issuing Shelton a citation at the time. In fact, they did absolutely nothing for weeks. It wasn’t until facing pressure from the community that the department handed the police report to the Guadalupe County District Attorney’s Office, and a grand jury finally indicted Shelton on Thursday.
“Incidents like this act of terrorism and intimidation are common tactics used since segregation was deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1948,” Merritt told The Root.
He added: “Law enforcement plays a pivotal role in enforcing the law, a duty the Marion Police Department has been decidedly derelict in upholding in this case. If hate crime legislation, discrimination statutes, and basic law and order is to mean anything, we must demand equal protection under the law for all citizens.”
Shelton's actions were despicable and have no place in our society. However, the Chapas are somewhat fortunate that this ordeal occurred before they invested in property in the neighborhood and brought their child into this racist environment.
They also got a chance to experience firsthand how the local authorities handle — or should we say mishandle — issues around race. Now that they can cross the city of Marion off the list, they can continue their home search in more inclusive areas. As for Shelton, hopefully she is convicted as she deserves to spend some time behind bars.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Oregon Department of Transportation