The 61-year-old described the incident in a June 7 sermon, recounting how when the cops arrived, they handcuffed him in front of his assaulters.
A Black pastor was arrested this month after calling 911 for help during an alleged attack by a white family earlier this month. Pastor Leon K. McCray Sr. of Woodstock, Virginia, called authorities for help on June 1 when five members of a family allegedly threatened and assaulted him when he tried to stop them trying to dump a refrigerator on his property. The 61-year-old described the incident in a June 7 sermon at his Lighthouse Church & Marketplace Ministries International in nearby Woodstock, recounting how when the cops arrived, they handcuffed him in front of his assaulters.
According to The Washington Post, McCray was visiting an apartment property he owns in Edinburg when he noticed a man and a woman who did not live there dragging a refrigerator to his dumpster. When he told them to stop, one person proceeded to verbally attack him while the other left and returned with three other people. He said he was jostled and threatened by the group, 'telling me that my Black life and the Black Lives Matter stuff, they don't give a darn about that stuff in this county, and they could care less and 'We would kill you.'"
A black pastor was arrested after he called 911 alleging an assault and threats. The sheriff has apologized. https://t.co/Y3W5IVmCLA— Laura Vozzella (@LVozzella) June 15, 2020
It was at this point that he drew a legally concealed handgun, he said, prompting the group to leave and giving him time to call 911. However, when authorities arrived, they spoke to the white family of five who'd attacked him rather than ask McCray what happened. "I was not given an opportunity to speak," he said, adding that officers told him they had to arrest him for brandishing a gun. "And I said, what about the trespassing and the assault?" he asked. Instead of questioning the five people who threatened and assaulted him, McCray "was handcuffed in front of my assaulters" by an officer who has known him from the community for over 20 years, reports NBC News.
"All this happened on my property," McCray said. He added that he was driven away while the five stood with deputies "waving at me as I go down the road. You think about how disturbing that is." The pastor stated that it was "a day that changed my life." Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter apologized to McCray in a statement Friday, revealing that the brandishing charge against him would be dropped." Carter further stated that two sheriff's office supervisors have been placed on unpaid administrative leave over the incident and that five people were arrested after the sheriff's office "obtained warrants for more severe charges regarding this investigation."
UPDATE: Police initially charged Pastor McCray— Qasim Rashid for Congress (@QasimRashid) June 14, 2020
Police finally dropped those charges & instead charged the 5 white supremacist terrorists w/hate crimes
Despite their violent terrorism & attempts to murder Pastor McCray, the 5 were arrested w/o incidenthttps://t.co/jwWSRF738g
"As I told Mr. McCray, if I were faced with similar circumstances, I would have probably done the same thing," the sheriff said. "I want the people of Shenandoah County to know that I and the sheriff’s office staff appreciate and care about the minority communities, and especially our black community, in Shenandoah County." Donny Salyers, 43, Dennis Salyers, 26, Farrah Salyers, 42, Christopher Sharp, 57, and Amanda Salyers, 26, are facing charges for hate crimes and various degrees of assault with Donny and Dennis also charged with assault and battery.
Good first step? They arrested and initially charged the pastor who called them for help...this wasn’t a “mistake”, despite this man being harassed by FIVE white people, the officer still felt the lone black man was the threat...that officer needs to have his badge taken away— Chadwick (@hirschc14) June 15, 2020
In an interview Sunday, McCray said that while he appreciated the sheriff's actions and the county for "starting to move in the right direction," his charge has not yet been formally dropped. "When someone does wrong, those in leadership positions should right that wrong quickly, just like they would do if it were them," he said. "I respect and appreciate that charges have been brought against the mob that assaulted me, as there should have been from the beginning. I just want things to change. They must change, and I won’t stop until it changes."