COCOA, Florida – Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe is pursuing criminal charges against five teens who were accused of involvement in filming the drowning of a man.
Cantaloupe said the teens never called 911 for assistance in Cocoa and can be heard mocking the disabled man as he struggled in the water before his death.
Misdemeanor charges will be pursued under a Florida statute related to not reporting a death.
However, it will still be up to State Attorney Phil Archer’s office whether to file the charges against the five teens, ages 14 to 18.
Cantaloupe met with Archer on Friday morning and is hopeful that criminal charges will be filed against the teens.
Under the statute Cantaloupe cited in seeking charges against the teens, “it is the duty of any person … who becomes aware of the death of any person” under certain circumstances “to report such death and circumstances forthwith to the medical examiner.” The statute covers a variety of causes of death, including from criminal violence, by accident and by suicide.
“It will be kind of a test case,” Cantaloupe said in a statement. “We’re hoping that it does work out. We think it can” apply in this case.
But, even if the teens are tried and convicted, Cantaloupe said, “There’s nothing that’s going to replace somebody’s life.”
The video showed the teens laughing as they filmed Jamel Dunn, 32, screaming for help before going underwater in a fenced-off pond near Plaza Parkway in Cocoa.
The teens made no calls to 911 and simply left the area when Dunn didn’t reappear from the water.
When Dunn fails to surface in the pond, the teens continue to joke about him.
“Oh, he just died,” one teen was heard saying, prompting the group to break out in laughter.
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