Attorney & community activist call for upgraded & hate crime charges in Arlington gas station attack

Ben Frazier says Rayme McCoy was ‘singled out because of her race’

A local attorney and a community activist are calling for State Attorney Melissa Nelson to upgrade a misdemeanor battery charge to a felony and file a hate crime charge against a man accused of attacking a woman inside an Arlington gas station.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local attorney and a community activist are calling for State Attorney Melissa Nelson to upgrade a misdemeanor battery charge to a felony and file a hate crime charge against a man accused of attacking a woman inside an Arlington gas station.

Attorney John Phillips, with the Law Offices of Phillips & Hunt, and Ben Frazier, of the Northside Coalition, held a news conference Wednesday morning with the 23-year-old victim, Rayme McCoy, and her family to make the plea.

Frazier said McCoy was “singled out because of her race.” He said the Northside Coalition is drawing a line in the sand against racist attacks.

(WATCH: Press the play button below to watch the news conference.)

Attorney John Phillips, with the Law Offices of Phillips & Hunt, and Ben Frazier, of the Northside Coalition, held a news conference Wednesday morning with the 23-year-old Rayme McCoy, who was attacked at an Arlington gas station, and her family.

The attack that happened on May 16 at a gas station on University Boulevard was recorded from store surveillance video and shared with News4JAX by McCoy.

The 59-year-old man accused of attacking the woman -- Kevin Williamson -- was arrested Friday on a misdemeanor charge of battery. (Note: News4JAX does not typically release the names and mugshots of those charged with misdemeanors but did in this case because of the notoriety the incident has received.)

“As a woman, I am infuriated that a man would brutally attack a woman due to his own personal anger and rage,” McCoy’s mother said. “As a mother, you always want to make sure your children are safe. My heartaches knowing I was unable to protect my daughter from this heinous crime.”

Phillips compared the attack on McCoy to what happened to Jordan Davis in 2012. In that case, Michael Dunn shot and killed the 17-year-old in an argument over loud music at a gas station and then claimed self-defense. Dunn was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Phillips said he and McCoy, who was at the news conference, planned to meet with the state attorney’s office later Wednesday. He agrees that Williamson needs to be charged with aggravated battery and that the case needs to be investigated as a hate crime.

“This needs to be investigated fully as a hate crime. Because of the significance of her injury, the battery charge needs to be aggravated battery,” Phillips said.

Williamson is a registered sexual offender, and Phillips said there were several red flags he feels were ignored.

“We have to do a better job of listening when someone tries to tell us they have mental illness, when they’re violent and when they’re a predator,” Phillips said.

The state attorney’s office has told News4JAX that it is reviewing the case.

“We would like to see justice in this case,” McCoy’s mother said with her daughter by her side, tears streaming down her face. “Please keep our family in your prayers.”

News4JAX called Williamson, who’s out on bond, on Wednesday to see if he wanted to comment. He did not pick up.

RELATED: Woman says man used ‘racist’ language before Arlington gas station attack seen in video | Jacksonville activists address a violent attack on a woman at an Arlington gas station | Man caught on video in Arlington gas station attack arrested, JSO says | Neighbor concerned after man seen attacking woman on video released on bond | JSO used ‘high-risk traffic stop’ to arrest man seen attacking woman on video, report shows | Court documents detail moments leading up to Arlington gas station attack

Details surrounding attack

Duval County court documents are providing more details about the attack.

McCoy told News4JAX last week that she walked into the gas station near her home and was followed by an older white man who was already involved in an argument with someone outside.

McCoy said the man was “ranting and raving” and using “racist” language and that at one point, the man walked toward the counter where McCoy was standing and she asked him to back up. That’s when the man said he had a gun in his car, McCoy said.

Video shared with News4JAX, which does not contain audio of the exchange, shows the man with a mustache and a green shirt punching McCoy in the face at least 10 times before he walks out of the store. The video was also posted on social media and shared thousands of times. (Warning: The video below contains images that some might find disturbing.)

A woman told News4JAX a man used racist language before he attacked her on Monday inside an Arlington gas station.

Williamson’s redacted arrest report, which News4JAX obtained Monday, suggests police were watching Williamson once a battery warrant was issued. According to the report, officers attempted to find him on Friday at his house in a neighborhood off McDuff Avenue, but a neighbor told police that he had left around 6 p.m.

Later, the report shows, police saw a car pull into his driveway and then initiated a “high-risk traffic stop.” Williamson was taken into custody without incident, the report states.

Once in custody, the report shows, he made some kind of spontaneous utterance, but it was redacted from the report.

News4JAX on Tuesday obtained the unredacted arrest report, and it shows Williamson’s spontaneous utterance to police was, “Did you watch the whole video? She hit me first.”

Williamson said that the woman attacked him and stated that he “was in a Black town and asked what else was he supposed to do,” according to the report. Williamson said the woman was screaming at him, “stating that he was racist because of how he spoke to an ‘Iranian gentlemen’ outside,” according to the report. Williamson said the woman knocked several canned items off the counter, hitting him in the side and foot, and he stated, “That is what set him off,” according to the report. He said that he then struck her three times with an open hand on the side of her head and told police that he did not make any racial statements toward the woman, the report said.

News4JAX on Tuesday also obtained the arrest warrant, which contains reference to another racial comment. When Williamson came into the store to buy beers, the woman, after hearing his comments to the man outside, asked him to back away from her because he was standing too close, the warrant said. Williamson said words to the effect about her being “those people,” and told her he had a gun in his car and to not mess with him, according to the warrant. The woman yelled at Williamson that if he grabbed his gun or hit her, she would have someone come to the gas station to protect her, the warrant shows. They started to argue, according to the warrant, and at one point, Williamson “would not back away,” so the woman slapped a can of beer onto the ground. Williamson then “immediately started punching” her in the face several times and fled the store.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said it was able to recover the store surveillance video, but there was no audio to it, so what Williamson said was not recorded.

Booking photo of Kevin Troy Williamson (WJXT)

Williamson was arrested Friday night, had his first appearance Saturday, posted $20,000 bond and was released Saturday night. In court Saturday, Williamson asked for his bond to be reduced to nothing, but the judge denied it.

Records show Williamson has been a registered sex offender for over 30 years. Court records show he is a registered sex offender and had a repeat domestic violence injunction filed against him that was later dismissed. There were two aggravated assault charges, one of which was with a deadly weapon, and both were dropped, court records show.


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Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4JAX in 2016.