Speed Reads

This is terrible

Florida police say teens who filmed and taunted a drowning man did not break any laws

On July 9, three teenage boys watched a disabled man drown in a pond in Cocoa, Florida, east of Orlando, and they filmed the man's death on a cellphone and taunted him for the duration of the 2-minute video, which they then posted to social media, police say. The teens, age 14 to 16, did not call for help or tell authorities about the death of Jamel Dunn, 32; his fiancée reported him missing on July 12 and his body was recovered from the pond on July 14. A woman who says she is Dunn's sister, Simone Scott, came across the video and posted it on Facebook last weekend, and police identified the boys and questioned them. At least one of them showed no remorse, Cocoa Police Department spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said.

Near the beginning of the video, the audio of which was posted by Florida Today, one boy is heard shouting at Dunn, "Get out the water, you're gonna die." The kids laughed. "He keeps putting his head under," another boy said. "Wow." "Bro, you scared to see a dead person?" one of the boys asked another. Finally, one of the teens said, "Oh, he just died," and they laughed some more.

Police are not going to file any charges against the teens, at the recommendation of state prosecutors, because they did not violate any Florida laws. Floridians are not legally obliged to assist people in distress or call for help. "If there was (a law like that) we would charge them," Martinez tells CNN. "The family is frustrated," she said, and "the detectives are frustrated, that we cannot hold anyone accountable for this." In a statement, the state attorney's office said that while no laws were broken, "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."

Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe was more direct. "As chief of police, there are times when I wish I could do more, but I'm a firm believer in that good will always win over evil," he said. "It may not come in our lifetime, but there will be justice."