Court summons issued for judge accused of almost hitting protester near Fayetteville Market House with SUV

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A criminal court summons was issued Friday for a state Appeals Court judge after a Fayetteville woman swore before a Cumberland County magistrate that he nearly hit her with his SUV.

Protestors say a driver veered toward them Friday, May 7, 2021, near the Fayetteville Market House.
Protestors say a driver veered toward them Friday, May 7, 2021, near the Fayetteville Market House.

Once served, the summons orders Judge John M. Tyson to appear in a Cumberland County courtroom next month to answer to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Myah Warren has said she was almost struck by the vehicle driven by Tyson while she was protesting near the Market House on May 7.

A police brutality protestor has filed a charge of assault with a deadly weapon against Judge John Tyson, alleging Tyson tried to hit her with his SUV last week as she demonstrated outside the Fayetteville Market House.
A police brutality protestor has filed a charge of assault with a deadly weapon against Judge John Tyson, alleging Tyson tried to hit her with his SUV last week as she demonstrated outside the Fayetteville Market House.

Warren said Friday that she gave a statement early that afternoon to the magistrate about what happened. She provided The Fayetteville Observer with a document called, “Court Witness Information.” It calls for her to appear in court as a witness on the charge for which the summons was issued. It lists Tyson as the defendant.

A still, taken from footage shot May 7 outside the Market House, shows a man sitting behind the wheel of an SUV with a N.C. Appeals Court license plate that protestors allege tried hitting demonstrators.
A still, taken from footage shot May 7 outside the Market House, shows a man sitting behind the wheel of an SUV with a N.C. Appeals Court license plate that protestors allege tried hitting demonstrators.

David T. Courie Sr., a partner in the Fayetteville law firm of Beaver Courie Sternlicht Hearp & Broadfoot, said in an email to an Observer reporter on Friday that he and his firm are representing Tyson in “the misdemeanor summons brought by an individual, not law enforcement, 7 days after the alleged date of offense.”

“It would not be appropriate to comment on the matter at this time,” Courie said. “We will proceed with faith in the facts and our system of justice.”

Warren said she talked to a magistrate on Monday and Tuesday about the incident, but was told both times that she couldn’t file charges.

Previous coverage: Fayetteville police investigate vehicle's near-miss of pedestrian during protest

When asked about the allegation earlier this week, Tyson declined to comment, saying only that he wanted to rely on the 911 calls.

An emergency dispatcher received a call regarding "reckless activity" as the protest was happening, according to a Fayetteville Police Department document. The caller said protesters were in the roadway, it said.

Emergency scanner traffic recorded about the time includes a call for an officer to go to the area near the Market House.

“Caller advises there are subjects in the roadway blocking traffic,” the dispatcher said. “I think it was possibly going to be five to 10 subjects.”

The caller said people in the street at the Market House were blocking traffic, according to an audio of the 911 call released Friday by the police department.

The caller says the people in the street are coming around his car, according to the audio. The dispatcher asks if the caller wants to make contact with police officers when they arrive.

"No, I just need them to come and get the people out of the street,” the caller said. “OK. Thank you."

The dispatcher asks how many people are involved.

"Probably five or 10," the caller said.

Warren said a detective from the Fayetteville Police Department contacted her Thursday about an investigation into the incident during the protest. The detective told her the investigation was over and that after reviewing video footage taken of the Market House area she had a reason to seek the charges.

A Fayetteville Police Department spokesman said earlier this week that an incident regarding a pedestrian almost being hit was assigned to an aggravated assault detective.

Warren said in an earlier interview that she and another protester had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck by a vehicle she said was driven by Tyson.

Mario Benavente, who was one of the protesters, has said he saw two other protesters nearly get hit by an SUV. He said he recognized Tyson as the driver of the vehicle.

Staff writer Steve DeVane can be reached at sdevane@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3572.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Fayetteville judge issued summons on assault with deadly weapon charge