DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) is looking for the suspects in an incident at a Daufuskie Island black-owned restaurant. An incident that is being discussed as a possible hate crime.
Geneva’s Joint, formerly Lucy Belle’s, has been open for less than a month, but it had to close Wednesday due to damage inside.
According to the incident report, Geneva Cline, the owner, says four white men walked into the restaurant about 5 p.m. Tuesday. She claims one of the men asked her “is this a colored-owned restaurant?”
Geneva told police she asked, “What did you say?”
She stated he raised his voice and responded ‘You heard what I said is this a Ni–er owned restaurant?”
She says he then smashed the screen on the cash register computer. She ran out of the store saying she “was scared what they may do.” She then called 911.
When she came back, Geneva says the door was ripped off the restaurant and food was thrown “everywhere.”
There are no cameras inside and no other witnesses to the alleged crime.
The men — one of whom was described as 5’8″ to 5’10” 175-180 lbs with a mullet hairstyle and a rose tattoo on his arm — may have driven off in a golf cart, which was found abandoned at the Daufuskie General store about 6:30 that night.
BCSO spokeswoman Major Angela Viens said police still are looking for the men. If charged, they could face malicious injury to property charges.
If investigators determine this was a hate crime, then federal investigators will be brought into the case.