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Police pursue misdemeanor charges against teens who allegedly mocked, recorded drowning man

1 year 4 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, July 22 2017 Jul 22, 2017 July 22, 2017 2:32 PM July 22, 2017 in News
Source: ABC News
Photo: ABC News

COCOA, Fla. - Police in Florida are pursuing misdemeanor charges against five teenagers for failure to report a death after authorities say they recorded video of a man’s drowning and didn't intervene.

The video, taken earlier this month in South Florida, shows a person's head bobbing up and down in a pond. The teenagers, who have not been named by police, are heard laughing and joking in the video, with one of them appearing to laugh and say, "He just died!"

According to Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe, police identified and interviewed the five teens after reviewing the disturbing video. Cantaloupe says the teens can't be charged for the man's death, but they may be able to pursue misdemeanor charges for 'failure to report a death'.

“When we initially reviewed this case it was determined there were no laws broken as the teens were not directly involved with the death,” Cantaloupe said in a statement today. "Further research of the statutes and consultation with the State Attorney’s Office yielded the decision to move forward with charges under this statute. It’s our belief that this law has never been enforced in a scenario like this, but we feel it could be applicable.”

Cantaloupe initially said that the five teenagers were not facing criminal charges after the State Attorney’s Office was consulted.

“As horrible as this video is the laws in the State of Florida do not obligate citizens to render aid or call someone to render aid to a person in distress," Cantaloupe said on Thursday.

“As horrible as this video is the laws in the State of Florida do not obligate citizens to render aid or call someone to render aid to a person in distress," Cantaloupe said on Thursday.

The victim, 31-year-old Jamel Dunn of Cocoa, drowned July 9, police said. He was reported missing July 12 and authorities recovered his body July 14 after a passerby reported a body floating in the pond.

Police said home surveillance video apparently captured Dunn jumping over a fence and willingly going into the water. "I don't think you can ever replace a lost life," Cantaloupe told ABC News.

"While this in no way will bring justice for what occurred, it is a start," Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III said of the decision to pursue charges.

Click HERE to the read the full report from ABC News. 

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