COCOA, Fla. -- Five teens will not face criminal charges for filming and mocking a man while he was drowning in a Cocoa pond. The video showing Jamel Dunn calling for help outraged viewers, and they demanded the group responsible be punished. Friday, we learned there would be none.
- No charges for teens who filmed, mocked drowning man
- Teens recorded Jamel Dunn as he drowned in a Cocoa pond
- Florida law does not require someone to provide emergency assistance
Dunn’s sister, Simone McIntosh, was hoping for a different outcome.
"No, they were not obligated to help. No, they didn't commit a crime. But yeah it was very senseless to sit there and watch someone die. You mocked, you laughed, and it was all a joke to you. That's the main reason I really wanted some kind of punishment to come out of this," she said.
The office of the State Attorney announced they would not charge the five teens who filmed Dunn die on July 9, 2017, in Cocoa, because there is no Florida law requiring someone to provide emergency assistance in this case.
A spokesperson for State Attorney Phil Archer sent us the following: "I know that everyone was sickened by the callous disregard for human life exhibited by these young people. We can only hope that this was an isolated and rare circumstance that will never happen again. Unfortunately, Florida law does not address this behavior and we are ethically restrained from pursuing criminal charges without a reasonable belief of proving a crime beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt."
"It took them a year to come up with the decision not to charge them. A whole year for that. I'm sort of speechless," McIntosh said.
While speechless, McIntosh isn't staying silent. She wants laws to change so people can be punished for this behavior in the future.
Cocoa Police Chief Michael Cantaloupe released the following statement: This week The State Attorney's Office informed us there would be no criminal charges filed in the case of a group of teens who recorded and mocked the drowning of Jamel Dunn nearly one year ago. We appreciate the diligent effort by the prosecutors office in making sure there was an unbiased and thorough legal review in the case and to come to a fair and unbiased conclusion. We were all shocked by the incident that took place at Bracco Pond last July. The fact that this type of behavior exists within our society is difficult to understand. There is no justification for what these teens did that day. Failing to call for someone to help a drowning man, instead mocking him and recording his final moments, is unthinkable. In spite of this, there are still no laws in the state of Florida that can be applied to this case. Our effort to use a statute in which medical personnel have a duty to report a death to the medical examiner was an attempt to seek some form of justice in this case, however, it did not apply in this case. I believe we all have learned much from this case. Recognizing it is not the job of government or police to legislate morality, we as a society must do better in not only showing compassion, but teaching our young people it is always the right thing to help others in need or in distress, even if it is just making a phone call. We believe humankind is inherently good. Let us always let goodness prevail.
McIntosh wishes the teens who saw her brother's final moments made a call for help.
"Even if that night they said there is a body in that lake, I could've at least had an open casket funeral to see him one last time. His body was so decomposed from the sun and water, so it was a closed casket funeral," she said.
A law to address this was proposed during this year's legislative session, but it didn't pass. The office of the State Attorney said they also considered the law 'Failure to Notify the Medical Examiner of a Death,' but they decided it couldn't be appropriately used in this case.