Woman arrested at ice cream shop released on bond days after receiving jail sentence

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A woman who was arrested at a Gastonia ice cream shop in July, leading to several days of tense, racially-charged protests, bonded out of jail days after receiving a 30-day sentence, the Gaston Gazette reported.

Lydia Maria Sturgues-Robinson, 31, was booked into the Gaston County Jail Sunday on a misdemeanor charge of criminal contempt.

Robinson appealed the sentence and spent almost 48 hours in jail before posting $5,000 bail on Tuesday afternoon. This allows her to be released from jail while awaiting trial on the contempt charge.

According to the Gazette, Robinson apparently entered the Magistrates Office waiting room around 3:30 p.m. Sunday. She was not in police custody at the time.

Robinson reportedly came in with a cellphone in an effort to have the police arrest someone over an alleged death threat she said was made against her.

The magistrate told Robinson the message she read did not meet the definition of a death threat under North Carolina law.

According to the contempt order obtained by the Gaston Gazette, “She began to argue and she was asked to leave and she continued to banter with the magistrate and she videoed portions of the exchange.”

The order also said cellphones are not allowed in magistrate court and signs are there to let people know they are prohibited.

After the encounter, the magistrate sentenced Robinson to 30 days in jail on a misdemeanor criminal contempt charge.

Robinson was first arrested on July 20 and charged with trespassing. Robinson said she was trying to buy ice cream when employees at Tony’s Ice Cream treated her poorly because she was wearing a Black Lives Matter button.

Robinson said she was asked to leave and was later arrested by police on the sidewalk in front of the ice cream shop. She was later released on an unsecured bond.

Her arrest led to days of protests that spread from the ice cream shop to the Gaston County Courthouse. Several other arrests were also made during the protests.

Managers at Tony’s said the entire interaction was a misunderstanding. The ice cream shop was closed for multiple days during the protests.

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