Two armed White men who pulled up at the North Carolina home of an African-American mother and son while searching for a missing person are demanding an apology from the Black family for allegedly tarnishing their image after their actions were likened to mob violence.
According to CNN, the men, who were in the company of around 13 other White people at the time of the incident, claim what happened that night wasn’t racially motivated and they were simply trying to locate the whereabouts of a missing person. The demand from Jordan Kita and Austin Wood comes after they were acquitted in February for their involvement in the May 3 incident. Attorneys representing the two men say they want to have a sit-down with Monica Shepard and her son, Dameon, to thrash out the incident as they claim it was a misunderstanding.
Aside from that, they also want an apology from the Black family. Monica, however, told the news outlet she wants to have nothing to do with them and she isn’t concerned they were acquitted. Kita was charged with forcible trespass, breaking and entering and willful failure to discharge duties while Wood was charged with going armed to the terror of the public.
It is also likely the issue won’t be put to bed anytime soon as a civil lawsuit filed by the Shepards against the group that showed up at their home will still be pursued. The Shepards, who compared the group to Ku Klux Klan night riders, are seeking over $25,000 in damages, legal fees as well as “training concerning the history of racism and mob violence” for the White people who showed up at their residence, CNN reported.
The May 3 incident considerably drew the ire of the public who claimed it was racially motivated. Attorneys for the two White men, however, denied race played a factor despite acknowledging the dark history of mob lynching in North Carolina and how the incident similarly reeked of it. They also admitted Kita and Wood were armed. Nevertheless, they claimed they were desperately searching for the missing girl and accused the Shepards and their attorneys of lying about the incident being racially motivated.
Monica Shepard, however, told CNN she’s not interested in having any discussion whatsoever with them. “I’ve said this before: It’s about accountability,” she said. “You can’t just form a mob and go around being vigilante citizens. There’s laws against that. I’m not interested in sitting down. It’s all about accountability at the end of the day.”
On the night of May 3, Kita, then a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy, joined Wood and 13 other White people to search for the former’s missing 15-year-old cousin. Following a tip-off about the missing girl possibly being with a young man at the Shepards’ address, the group moved to their home. Kita was in his uniform and was also out of his jurisdiction at the time.
The Shepards said though Dameon told them they had the wrong address and he wasn’t the person they were after, the group still refused to leave. The family also accused Kita of using his foot to block them from closing the door. He, however, denied that, CNN reported. During the encounter, Wood was also standing close by with a rifle.
Kita was dismissed from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office in the aftermath of the incident. The missing girl was found at a different location the next day.