Facebook video now part of RNC investigation

Diane Crocker dcrocker@thewesternstar.com
Published on March 27, 2014
This screen shot is from a video posted to Facebook of an alleged assault of a teenage boy in Corner Brook on Monday.

A video circulating on Facebook has become part of an investigation into an alleged assault of a 14-year-old boy earlier this week.

At about 7:40 p.m. on Monday the Corner Brook Royal Newfoundland Constabulary received an anonymous report of an injured male youth near the Valley Mall.

The boy was taken to Western Memorial Regional Hospital were he was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.

An RNC media report from Tuesday said that the investigation into the incident resulted in another 14-year-old boy being arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm. The alleged assailant was later released into the custody of a parent.

Sometime after the incident, a 23-second video of the assault appeared on Facebook. A link to the video could still be accessed Thursday morning.

It shows a bigger male youth punching a smaller boy in the face. The victim tries to get away, but the alleged assailant pursues him and strikes him several more times before the boy falls to the ground. The beating continues with the alleged attacker kicking him at least twice while the victim is on the ground

The incident looks like it was filmed in the parking garage at the Valley Mall. And a female can be heard laughing as the assault takes place.

Const. Scott Mosher, the RNC’s media relations officer, said Thursday morning that a copy of the video is now in the hands of investigators.

“When the initial complaint was made, I don’t think there was any sign of the video,” said Mosher in a phone interview conducted prior to him issuing a media release on the incident.

Mosher said police have not yet determined who shot the video or have anything concrete on what may have provoked the alleged assault.

The video has been shared more than 100 times with many people adding their thoughts to the comments section.

Some say the victim got what he deserved, while others speak out against the violent act. There are also comments that point to the attack being in retaliation for another action and some, disturbingly, laugh at the incident.

Mosher said to see a video like the one in question is quite rare, but is a sign of the times. He said we’re living in a society where people’s private lives are posted everywhere through photos and comments on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“In terms of the investigation,” Mosher said the video “makes it visually a little more serious or obvious of what had transpired.”

He said in a normal investigation officers are dealing with words — what one side has to say about the other.

“But whenever there’s video evidence, it’s certainly more compelling than the written word.”

Mosher said the fact someone would videotape an assault and do nothing to stop it is very concerning.

“We talk about in some of our school programs how people can take responsibility for violence. And one of the things discussed is not being a bystander. It’s being someone who takes action.”

Mosher said people who engage in violence do so because they want attention.

“Which is exactly the type of behaviour we’re trying to eradicate.”

The alleged attacker is scheduled to appear in provincial youth court on May 14.