Florida authorities agreed that there was “no moral justification” for a group of teenagers to stand around, mock, and watch a 32-year-old disabled man drown in a pond, but they also determined that no laws were broken.
On July 9 the teens, ages 14 to 16, laughed, mocked, and even took a cell phone video of Jamel Dunn’s final moments, as he floundered and screamed for help in a Cocoa, Florida pond, according to Florida Today.
Three days later, Dunn’s body was pulled from the water.
Police investigated after the video went viral on social media and one of Dunn’s friends called authorities. Brevard County prosecutors denounced the teenagers and called the incident a “tragedy,” but that’s as far as it will go.
“The kids were at the park that day smoking marijuana and apparently saw him walk into the water. He walked in on his own. They were watching him,’ Cocoa Police Department spokesperson Yvonne Martinez said. “(The teens) were telling him they weren’t going in after him and that ‘you shouldn’t have gone in there.””
And while the teens did warn Dunn, none of them called 911 when it became obvious that the disabled man, who walked with a cane, was struggling.
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“He started to struggle and scream for help and they just laughed,” said Martinez. “They didn’t call the police. They just laughed the whole time. He was just screaming … for someone to help him.”
But it went further than just doing nothing – they also taunted Dunn.
“Get out the water, you gonna die” and “ain’t nobody fixing to help you, you dumb (expletive)” can be heard on the video.
When it became apparent that Dunn wasn’t going to make it, one even said, “Oh, he just died” as the group laughs.
During the police investigation, none of the teenagers seemed the least bit remorseful, and one just stared ahead and “smirked” while his mother cried.
Dunn’s sister, Simone Scott, disagrees with the prosecutor’s decision, saying, “My brother is disabled and walks with a cane…please make it make sense to me.”
Except technically, no laws were broken. According to a State Attorney’s Office statement:
“We are deeply saddened and shocked at both the manner in which Mr. Dunn lost his life and the actions of the witnesses to this tragedy. While the incident depicted on the recording does not give rise to sufficient evidence to support criminal prosecution under Florida statutes, we can find no moral justification for either the behavior of persons heard on the recording or the deliberate decision not to render aid to Mr. Dunn.”