The New York Police Department has charged five teenage boys in connection with a gang assault and robbery of a 15-year-old girl in Brooklyn on March 5 after footage of the attack was caught on camera, The New York Post reports.
The five boys, aged between 14 and 17, turned themselves in to officials on March 6 under the supervision of their parents. Police are still searching for other suspects, according to the publication.
Police said the assault may have been in retaliation for a fight earlier in the day where the victim allegedly beat up another girl at school. However an NYPD spokesperson told Fox News that the accused were likely motivated by robbery.
Footage of the disturbing incident was caught on a security camera and shows the victim walking along Utica Avenue in Crown Heights on Thursday when she was ambushed by the teenagers in broad daylight. Officials said the incident took place at at 4:10 p.m local time.
OUTRAGE:this is sickening video of a 15 year old girl viciously attacked by a group of school children. One young man takes the sneakers right off the unconscious victim’s feet. The teenager is in the hospital recovering. We CAN NOT allow this behavior in our community. #Speakup pic.twitter.com/VLLb91fDOM
— NYPDBrooklynNorth (@NYPDBklynNorth) March 6, 2020
The video shows the group punching and kicking the girl and stomping on her head, as she lies helpless on the pavement, before running off with her wallet, cellphone, and sneakers.
The footage was shared on Twitter by Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, Commanding Officer of the NYPD, who called the attack “sickening,” and confirmed that the teenage girl, who was left unconscious in the attack, is in hospital and recovering. “We CAN NOT allow this behavior in our community,” he added.
A later tweet by officials confirmed the girl has since been released from hospital and is recovering with her family.
All five were charged as minors with robbery and assault and were awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court as of March 7. A judge denied prosecutors’ request for $10,000 bail on each suspect, and instead released the boys on their own recognizance. However, the judge imposed curfews on each suspect, and ordered them to stay away from the victim, the New York Daily News reported.
One of the mothers of the attackers told the publication that she had made her son turn himself into police after seeing the footage herself.
“When I saw the video I literally wanted to kill him with my own hands. I was very, very p****d off,” Donna Howell said. “He didn’t want to go at first and I said, ‘No you’re going to go, you’re going to turn yourself in.'”
The mother said she left the house to run an errand, and returned to find her son had “walked and turned himself in [to police].”
Earlier this year, New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea attributed a spike in crimes in the city in the first three weeks of the year to the new bail reform laws that came into effect on Jan. 1.
Shea told reporters he believes the rise is linked to the implementation of the new bail reform laws (pdf) that abolished cash bail for defendants arrested for many misdemeanors, including assaults without serious injury, and other nonviolent felonies, and include specific provisions encouraging courts to release defendants “on recognizance” while their cases are pending.
The court’s decision to release a defendant must also not be based on an assessment of the defendant’s future dangerousness or risk to public safety, the law states.
“If you let out individuals that commit a lot of crime, that’s precision policing in reverse, and we’re seeing the effects in a very quick time, and that is why we’re so concerned,” he said, adding that “you have to have a situation where dangerous individuals or individuals that repeatedly commit crimes and victimize people are kept in, and if judges don’t have that ability, I think we’re all in trouble.”