FORWARD TIMES EXCLUSIVE
A family had just returned from Galveston on a spring break excursion, when upon their return, all of a sudden the unthinkable happened.
“You don’t belong in this neighborhood!”
These are the words that Jules Moor, a 13-year old black child, says that Deanna Johnson, a middle-aged white female, said to him after Johnson slammed her 2011 Jeep Wrangler into his go-cart on Tuesday, March 13, 2012.
STRUCK BY VEHICLE
According to court documents obtained from Jules’ attorney, Sylvester Anderson, Jules went for a ride in his go-cart in his neighborhood with another 13-year old boy who had been spending spring break with the Moor family. A third minor boy, another friend of Jules’, rode a small bicycle behind the go-cart.
Jules saw two cars behind him while driving back home, so he decided to drive his go-cart completely off the road to his right onto the grassy edge of the neighborhood park to avoid being in the way of traffic.
It is then that Jules states that Johnson swung her vehicle across the south-bound lane of the road, ran over the curb onto the grass and deliberately and intentionally rammed her vehicle head-on into the go-cart.
According to Jules, Johnson got out of her vehicle and confronted the boys in a hostile and threatening manner yelling “Where do you live? Who are your parents?” while shaking her finger at the kids. Jules goes on to say, “With all due respect, Ma’am, I live down the street,” to which Johnson allegedly tells him that she didn’t care and that she was calling the police.
Jules called his mother and told her that Johnson had hit his go-cart and didn’t know why.
A MOTHER DISRESPECTED
“He thought he was going to die,” said Theresa Moor, mother of Jules. “All I could do was stop what I was doing, grab my keys and make my way to my child.”
As Theresa arrived, she saw that the go-cart had been damaged severely and learned from Jules that Johnson had accused the boys of not living in the neighborhood. As Theresa approached Johnson to find out what happened, Johnson put her palm up to her face in a dismissive manner, refused to talk, went back to her truck and rolled up the windows.
Frustrated at the way things were transpiring, Theresa contacted the police and several Brazoria County Sheriff’s deputies arrived.
According to Theresa, she overheard Johnson claim that she was trying to “detain” the boys because they looked like some kids that they had seen earlier riding bicycles onto the driveways of houses in the neighborhood.
EXTERNAL INJURIES, INTERNAL SCARS
Jules and the other 13-year old boy in the go-cart sustained back and neck injuries as a result of the wreck. The boys had collars placed on their necks, were placed on stretchers and taken by ambulance to the emergency room of Southeast Memorial Hermann Hospital. They were treated and released, but Jules has since been diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and is seeing a therapist regularly.
According to Theresa, her son has been completely traumatized and has not been the same after the ordeal. He doesn’t wish to talk about the wreck.
“My son is not the same,” says Theresa. “He doesn’t want to play outside anymore or leave the house alone. I just don’t know why she did this to my child.”
It is still unclear why Johnson decided to do what she did. Johnson never apologized for ramming her truck into the go-cart and jeopardizing the lives of the three children and according to witnesses, was seen laughing as she spoke with the Sheriff’s deputies.
Johnson was not arrested or drug-tested upon the admission of her actions. The Sheriff’s department Captain that came on the scene decided not to arrest Johnson upon consulting with the District Attorney.
“I don’t think this was handled properly,” says Anderson. “I think it is clear that this woman should have been arrested on the scene and charges should have been filed, for nothing else, for misdemeanor assault.”
Anderson believes that this is just as bad as shooting someone and, that you have to protect people from dangerous people who perform intentional acts like this.
“To run into somebody intentionally with a truck is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than shooting someone,” says Anderson. “You can’t do this type of thing without impunity. This is not something that this family will accept.”
According to Jules’ attorney, they have filed a civil lawsuit and a criminal investigation is in process.
A grand jury had convened, but didn’t have enough information at the time, so another grand jury is going to convene on April 4th to determine whether they plan to subpoena witnesses, subpoena those involved and take testimony.
According to the civil lawsuit filed by Anderson, they have leveled several charges against Johnson, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and intent to cause bodily injury to a child.
Johnson’s actions are reminiscent of the recent shooting death of young Trayvon Martin, by self-appointed neighborhood watchman and vigilante George Zimmerman.
Martin was simply walking home from the convenience store, having committed no crime and being unarmed, when he was followed by Zimmerman and brutally murdered, having been shot in the chest.
Like young Trayvon, Jules Moor and his friends had committed no crime and were armed with nothing but a go-cart and helmets, when Deanna Johnson decided to attack these innocent young boys for mere speculation and assumption.
COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE
“I’m so grateful to God that I still have my son with me,” said Theresa Moor. “Today could have been a different day and I can’t shake that out of my head.”
According to Theresa, kids always ride bikes and go-carts in the neighborhood and she can’t help but believe that Jules was targeted because of his race and not his actions.
Like George Zimmerman, Johnson chose to take the law in her own hands and not allow law enforcement to do their jobs.
Vigilante justice is not justice at all, when it is driven by stereotypes and profiling.
Although Johnson is white and Jules and his friends are black, race should never matter when it comes to the enforcement of the law and protecting our children. A jury of her peers will determine whether she acted in a criminal and overzealous manner, but her actions have contributed to the already hostile environment that profiling of any sort brings.