Omar Rodríguez Ortiz, Devoun Cetoute
A 15-year-old boy faces criminal charges after he was caught on video last week pummeling a 9-year-old girl in a Homestead school bus, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The footage “clearly shows that this beating was far more serious than a simple student altercation,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a news release.
The school’s police officer who investigated the matter had the discretion to issue a civil citation, as the officer did here, or make an arrest for misdemeanor battery, according to Fernandez Rundle.
“We believe that, based on the evidence and the circumstances, the use of a civil citation was incompatible with the level of violence displayed by the 15-year-old against his much younger and smaller victim,” Fernandez Rundle said. “As a result, we have filed criminal battery charges with our juvenile courts.”
The students involved in the Feb. 1 fight were from Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead.
Around 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue was called to treat two juveniles near 24400 SW 124th Ave. The children weren’t taken to the hospital and were released to their parents, fire rescue said.
The 18-second fight video has been shared thousands of times and amassed over 5 million views.
It started on a crowded school bus with a fight breaking out in the aisle. A large boy walked over to a sitting girl and began pummeling the back of her head, video showed. She wrapped her arm around her head trying to defend against the blows. A smaller student joined in on hitting the girl as a boy comes from behind to restrain the larger boy from hitting the girl. Another fight also began behind them but is mostly obscured by bus seats and students.
One mother, identified only as Jenni, told the Miami Herald news partner CBS Miami last week that it was her 9-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son who were assaulted.
“Emotionally, I couldn’t even last two minutes. I couldn’t look at the video,” she told the station. “Like any mother, I am destroyed. I fell to my knees and at that moment I said I have to do something.”
She said her children have been bullied at Coconut Palm K-8 Academy and had only been enrolled for three weeks. While her daughter and son were physically OK, she said, both children are traumatized.
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