Here’s a test of basic human decency for you. You see a man struggling to stay afloat in a pond or river. What do you do? Here are your choices:
a) If you have the necessary lifesaving training, dive into the water, swim out to victim, and rescue him.
b) Summon help by dialing 911.
c) Both a and b.
d) None of the above.
A group of Florida teenagers ranging in age from 14 to 16 chose option d. This is not to suggest that they did nothing. They did take time to make a video recording of the man fighting for his life, and at one point one of the geniuses even helpfully called out, “Get out [sic] the water.” They stayed until the man went under, prompting one to declare jubilantly, “He dead!” Then they went about their business, not bothering even then to alert authorities that a man had drowned.
They did of course post their “trophy video” to YouTube, which ultimately brought the police to their homes.
Earlier today, Cocoa Police Department spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez announced that the teens would not be criminally charged in the man’s death. The local ABC affiliate quotes Martinez as saying, “We don’t have anything criminal resulting from that incident. Our detectives were trying to get [sic] potentially if a negligence law could apply. The state attorney advises it doesn’t meet standard for a criminal charge.”
Unlike some states, Florida has no law on its books that obliges citizens to render aid or call for help for anyone in distress.
The victim has been identified as 31-year-old Jamel Dunn. His family had filed a missing person’s report on July 12, three days after he had already drowned. Understandably, “The family is frustrated,” Martinez notes. “The detectives are frustrated, that we cannot hold anyone accountable for this. No one deserves to go like that.”
For those with the stomach to watch, here is the video: