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Sheriff’s Spokesman: White North Carolina Woman Charged with Purposely Driving Into Black Teens, But Race Not Considered a Factor

A North Carolina white woman has been charged with purposely driving her vehicle into a yard where three Black teenagers were playing basketball, injuring one child, The Associated Press reported last week.

Pitt County Sheriff’s Office statement revealed that authorities responded to a call on Sunday, April 18, that a child was deliberately hit by a car. The driver of the vehicle was later identified as 35-year-old Daina Renee Forrest of Greenville, North Carolina, a city of about 90,000 located 80 miles east of Raleigh. The incident was said to have occurred around 5 p.m. that evening. 

Forrest was driving around and threatening the three teens while waving a knife and cursing when she “intentionally veered her car off the roadway and partially into the yard to strike the children,” the sheriff’s department release explained. The injured teen was taken to Vidant Medical Center for treatment. Sgt. Lee Darnell, a sheriff’s spokesman, said the injuries appeared to be minor. 

Meanwhile, the damage to the front of Forrest’s car was consistent with hitting a person. When officers searched the vehicle, they found marijuana “blunts,” crack cocaine, and a knife. After being interviewed, she was then placed under arrest and charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of felony cocaine possession. 

Family members of the teenagers have not publicly commented on Sunday’s incident, and local law enforcement did not state whether any hate crimes would be added to Forrest’s charges.

Sgt. Darnell made a note of Forrest’s race, but when asked whether race is thought to have played a role in Forrest’s alleged assault the deputy said, “I don’t’ believe it was a race hate crime, no.”

His thoughts have garnered backlash from several people online, including one Twitter user who wrote, “Maybe you should check out Sgt. Darnell’s Background, since he has a keen sense of what took place…. just saying…”

Another person wrote, “Of course, it was a hate crime! If she was threatening with a knife. That’s all I need to know.”

“So, what’s the point of mentioning skin color? Racebait?” a third questioned. 

Forrest was jailed last week in the Pitt County Detention Center under a $230,000 secured bond.

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