by G. Brown
A group of Cocoa Florida teens laughed and mocked a Black man as they stood by and watched him drown. According to authorities, the teens not only ridiculed the man, but used their cell phone to video the entire tragedy.
Police say five teens, between the ages of 14 and 16 years , stood around laughing and recording for more than two minutes as 32 year old Jamel Dunn struggled for his life in a pond. Dunn also suffered from an unspecified type of disability. One of the teen’s could be heard yelling “You gonna die“, another teen shouted “Ain’t nobody fixing to help you, you dumb ass“. A spokesperson for the Cocoa Police Department says, “They just laughed the whole time…He was screaming for somebody to help him.” And since no one helped, the man could be seen on the video living his last seconds of life in terror…and then dying.
Police initially said there was nothing they could do in the tragic case, but as news of what happened spread so did outrage. Police are now charging the teens under a state statue typically reserved for medical examiners who are obligated to notify authorities of a death. Police admit the charges are “kind of a test case because the “statue has never been used in this way.”
The teens were all allegedly high from smoking weed. No doubt that will figure into their defense saying they were young and not in their sober, right minds. But once the high wore off, CNN quoted police as saying the teens still showed no remorse. They were also “sober” enough to post the video on social media. The state of their minds (sober or high) may not be the issue, but the state of their hearts are definitely called into question. It’s hard to imagine that no matter how high or intoxicated you are, if saw someone who was struggling in a life or death situation pleading, begging you to help save their lives that the urgency of the situation wouldn’t sober you up a bit. Then to walk away and not even report the death—someone cared about that man, a sister, his children spent days, nights fretting for him when he didn’t come home or answer messages.
Everything about this case is heartbreaking and cruel. What’s happened in society that we don’t even care about the well being of other humans. There was a video on YouTube or social media a while back where a man was heralded as a hero because he was walking down the street and saw a cat fall into a water filled ditch or ravine. The man came running into frame, crossed traffic and jumped in to successfully save the cat. He was dressed for work and didn’t hesitate to save an animal…a street cat that had no riches to pay him out of gratitude or even the ability to say thank you. That’s humanity. But apparently you have to be human to show it.
You can argue that the teens were young and didn’t know any better. How old do you have to be to care about another person’s life? Even if they couldn’t swim, they could have run to get help.
What do you think….are people over reacting by charging the teens? Will the shame and memory of what they did serve as their punishment? Or are these teens and their heinous behavior a commentary on our society today?