A Texas woman was indicted Thursday afternoon in a Guadalupe County, Texas, court on charges of felony mischief after authorities say she smashed the car windows of an interracial couple viewing a house in the neighborhood in which she lives.
In the early hours of Dec. 10, 2017, Jason and Victoria Chapa were leaving a family gathering in Marion, Texas, when they decided to check out a potential new home in a developing area.
The couple drove to the house, exited their vehicle and began to walk around. As they were walking from behind the house, they heard glass shatter. According to authorities, they rushed to their car to discover Melissa Shelton, 29, a white woman who lives in the neighborhood, in the process of smashing their front windshield and back driver’s side window, directly over the location where their child’s car seat was located. Fortunately, their child was not in the vehicle.
The couple said that Shelton had seen them walk to the back of the home. When they returned to their car after hearing the glass shatter, Shelton allegedly began screaming racist slurs at them, calling them “niggers” and “spics” who were too poor to move into her neighborhood.
Jason Chapa is Mexican American and Victoria Chapa is African American.
After the Chapas called 911, two deputies responded to the scene. Shelton and her companion—identified as Mason Mycue on the police report obtained by The Root—told the deputies that they had just arrived home when the Chapas approached and accused them of vandalizing their car.
According to the couple, however, when Mycue realized that Shelton had been caught in the act, he offered to pay for the broken windows. He was not indicted on any charges related to the incident.
“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.”
The Marion Police Department did not issue Shelton a citation. After weeks of inaction and public pressure, the department turned over the police report taken at the scene to the Guadalupe County District Attorney’s Office. A grand jury indicted Shelton Thursday afternoon.
In an interview with The Root, Merritt broke down how institutional violence reinforces the violent actions for which Shelton was eventually charged.
“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 said. “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.”
This is a developing story ...