COCOA, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida say a group of teens who watched, laughed and made a video as a man drowned in a retention pond can be charged with failure to report a death.
Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III says the misdemeanor charge is at least a start in the July 9 drowning death of 31-year-old Jamel Dunn. It’s generally not a crime to fail to come to someone’s rescue in Florida or elsewhere in the U.S.
Cocoa police say after the drowning they discovered a group of teens recorded Dunn’s drowning on video. The video was released by the state attorney’s office Thursday and audio was published by Florida Today. The teens can be heard laughing at Dunn, telling him he’s going die and they weren’t going to help him.
Police identified and interviewed the five teens involved. Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cataloupe called their actions “utterly inhumane and cruel,” but initially said criminal charges could not be filed because state law doesn’t require people give or call for help when someone’s in distress.
Announcement of the new charge came as the story gained widespread online attention.
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