Protester accuses appeals judge of nearly hitting her with SUV; his lawyer says video supports defense

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A summons issued Friday has ordered a North Carolina appeals judge to answer a charge of assault with a deadly weapon after a Black Lives Matter protester claimed that he was driving a state-issued SUV that nearly hit her and other protesters.

Judge John M. Tyson headshot Judge John M. Tyson of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Photo from the North Carolina Judicial Branch.

The summons was issued for the appearance of Judge John M. Tyson of the North Carolina Court of Appeals after protester Myah Warren said she was nearly struck by his vehicle during the May 7 protest, report the Fayetteville Observer (here and here), the Washington Post, Law & Crime and WRAL.

The summons was brought by an individual, not law enforcement, according to lawyer David T. Courie Sr., whose law firm is representing Tyson. He told the Fayetteville Observer that he could not comment further. Later, he told the Fayetteville Observer that he has reviewed the surveillance video, and it “will be labeled Defense Exhibit #1.”

The video released by police shows the SUV driving in a lane not open to traffic closest to the left curb, nearly stopping, then driving past two protesters standing on the curb and a third standing a few feet into the lane, according to the Fayetteville Observer. The vehicle appeared to come within several feet of the protesters.

The lane carried the words “Black Lives Do Matter” and “End Racism Now,” WRAL reports.

Warren told WRAL that the SUV nearly hit another vehicle and then jumped the curb on the other side of the street as a result.

Protesters said Tyson was calling police after his car entered the sidewalk. The Fayetteville Observer reports that an emergency call indicated that protesters were in the roadway, and people in the street were coming around the caller’s car.

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