PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating the assaultof a high school student in suburban Boca Raton that was captured on video and has been viewed thousands of times on social media.
Investigators said one student from West Boca Raton High School and another from Olympic Heights High School agreed to meet at 2 p.m. about an unresolved dispute at South County Regional Park, north of Glades Road and west of State Road 7.
The video shows one girl attack another and bring her to the ground. Then, several girls gang up on the girl who is in a fetal position and beat her. A crowd gathers, and many of its members use their cellphones out to record the attack. At some point, another girl walks over and attempts to pull two of the girls off each other. Though they stop for a moment, two of the girls go back at her.
Not much can be heard in the video other than screams and one person telling someone to “pull her hair.”
The Sheriff’s Office has not identified the girl who was assaulted or her attackers.
One of the video’s of the fight has been viewed more than 72,000 times on Twitter. One of the people to share the video was Shaun King, a columnist for the online publication The Intercept. King directed his tweet at Boca Raton police -- who are not investigating the incident -- and said he “was told this is in your town and that this young Muslim girl had been harassed for months before she was brutally assaulted here.”
King asked why they allow “this culture of Islamophobia to grow.”
The Sheriff’s Office said they spoke with the mother of the girl who was beaten and “at NO time was race or bullying ever discussed, determined or considered to have played a role in the altercation.”
A man who identifies himself as the girl’s father posted the video on Facebook late Thursday and said his daughter was attacked because she was a Muslim. He said the girl had been bullied at school for her religion.
The video he posted was viewed more than 464,000 times as of Friday evening.
The Palm Beach Post called a telephone number listed for the father, but the person who answered the phone hung up. A text message was also sent to the same phone number, and the person on the other end identified himself as the girl’s uncle. The man, who did not give his name, said the family is “in deep shock.”
The Post made another attempt on a different telephone number listed for the father, but messages and phone calls were not answered. To protect the girl’s identity the Post is not identifying the girl’s father at this time.
King did not reply to either to Boca Raton police or the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which replied to his tweet. Boca Raton said it was not its case and the Sheriff's Office said criminal charges are pending.
“Nothing at this time indicates a hate crime. It was apparently over a boyfriend,” the Sheriff’s Office told King on Twitter. “Our deputy will be following up with the School Board to identify the multiple subjects in the video.”
Cox Media Group