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Attorney: Man attacked family over Black Lives Matter sign
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Attorney: Man attacked family over Black Lives Matter sign

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Signs

These signs were in the back window of the car Nova Tempest was driving at the time of the alleged attack. 

A white Forsyth County man is accused of assaulting two members of a family outside a dental office in Lewisville because the family had a Black Lives Matter sign and another sign in honor of Breonna Taylor in the back window of their car, the family's lawyer and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Rod Steven Sturdy, 55, of the 8000 block of Deverow Court in Lewisville, is facing two misdemeanor charges — simple assault and assault on a female — after the Dec. 3 incident, according to arrest warrants. 

Helen Parsonage, the family's attorney, gave this account, which was confirmed in part by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office: 

Nova Tempest, Olivia Pugh and their brother were headed to a dental appointment the morning of Dec. 3. Tempest was driving, Pugh was in the front passenger seat and their brother, who is a juvenile and not being identified by name, was in the back seat. The family had a "Black Lives Matter" sign and another sign that read "Prosecute the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor" in the back window. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March as they executed a search warrant for her apartment. Taylor's death sparked protests this summer over racial injustice and police brutality.

On Dec. 3, Tempest was driving the family members along Lewisville-Clemmons Road toward the dental clinic, which is on Shallowford Road. At 10:55 a.m. Sturdy started alternating between tailgating the family and then cutting in front of them and slamming on the brakes, Parsonage said. Sturdy followed the family for a couple of blocks, until Tempest turned into the parking lot of the dentist's office. 

Sturdy blocked the family in, got out of his car and headed to the back passenger seat, where Tempest's and Pugh's brother was. Parsonage said Sturdy then began hitting the brother in the face. Pugh tried to intervene and Sturdy punched Pugh twice in the face, according to Parsonage. 

Sturdy pointed at the signs and used the N-word. He also used the word "whores," Parsonage said. 

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LaShanda Millner, spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, confirmed that Sturdy used racist language and had tailgated the family before the incident. Arrest warrants said Sturdy punched both the brother and Pugh in the face. 

When reached by phone Tuesday, Sturdy answered few questions about the incident.

When asked whether he denied the allegations, Sturdy said, "I'm going to court, and you can be there."

He also said he didn't think the news media cared about the facts in the case. 

He then used an expletive and hung up.

Parsonage said Tempest, Pugh and their brother are still processing what happened. 

"It was the hatred and the aggression that has left them a little bit shaken," she said. "It's amazing to me. I can't understand or relate that anyone would feel the need to do this, feel compelled."

Sturdy is scheduled to appear in Forsyth District Court on Jan. 22.

336-727-7326

@mhewlettWSJ

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