Chapel Hill, N.C. — What began as a peaceful demonstration in Chapel Hill quickly took a violent turn after a white man assaulted the only black woman participating in the vigil.
More than 100 people lined Fordham Boulevard in Chapel Hill for the seventh week in row. Those in attendance were holding signs to remember the ones who have lost their lives to police brutality. Binkley Baptist Church hosts the peaceful vigils every Friday. Last week, things escalated when a black teenager was punched in the face by a white man.
Dozens of people were at the event, holding signs and demonstrating their support for those killed at the hands of police.
“It’s a vigil, meaning we lament and grieve with those who have lost loved ones and what it means as a country for us to not look the other way when brutality and police violence occurs,” said Marcus McFaul, the senior minister at Binkley Baptist Church.
On July 3, as the vigil hosted by Binkley Baptist Church began wrapping up, a man walked up and started shouting at the only black woman there. The victim said she wanted to address the man and started walking towards him.
“Before I got the second to say anything, he said what are you going to do b**** and then punched me right on the face,” said the teen, who did not want to be identified. “I held my face and he held my head down and threw two more punches.”
The teen’s mother was quick to react.
“Any mother … I was in shock,” said Carol Miller, the mother of the teen who was assaulted. “Seeing her covering her head and it looked like he was pummeling her and my instinct was to get him away.”
She wasn’t alone. Strangers helped get the victim to safety. Bart Moody, 53, was cited on scene, charged with assault on a female. The teen said the scary incident didn’t keep her from demonstrating.
“I have the chance to use my voice and my experience to make a change, that’s why I’m back,” the teen said.
The incident encouraged even more people to come out to the vigil.
While the victim and her mother are upset with what happened, they want Moody to know they forgive him and hope he can find love for others in his heart.
Moody’s first court appearance is July 21 in Hillsborough.