Feedback
News

Florida Teenagers Who Mocked Drowning Man Won’t Face Charges

Five Florida teenagers who mocked a drowning man, and filmed his final moments, won't face criminal charges, authorities said.

Jamel Dunn, 31, drowned in a pond after calling out to a group of teenagers for aid, police at the Cocoa Police Department told NBC affiliate WESH News.

The teenagers, who investigators have identified and interviewed, can be heard in the video heckling Dunn as he fights to stay above the water. In between bursts of laughter, one of the kids behind the camera can be heard shouting, “Yeah b---- you shoulda never got in there!” Another says, “Let him drown, what the heck.”

Image: A screenshot from cellphone footage that shows a man drowning in Cocoa, Florida, as teens stand by heckling, recording, and refusing to help him.
A screenshot from cellphone footage that shows a man drowning in Cocoa, Florida, as teens stand by heckling, recording, and refusing to help him.

Cocoa Police Public Information Officer Yvonne Martinez confirmed with NBC News that the incident occurred July 9, but the body was not recovered until July 14. "A passerby saw him floating at the edge of the pond and called us," she said.

The pond is located in a city park along a walking trail. She said the police were not aware of the video prior to finding the body.

Dunn’s fiancée, Rondanielle Williams, was in disbelief over the teenagers’ actions. “How could nothing in your heart tell you not to do anything when someone’s crying out for help and you’re telling them you’re not going to help them?” she told WESH. “It broke my heart.”

Martinez said the teenagers are between the ages of 14 and 16.

State Attorney Phil Archer released a statement saying, "we are deeply saddened and shocked at both the manner in which Mr. Dunn lost his life and the actions of the witnesses to this tragedy."

"While the incident depicted on the recording does not give rise to sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution under Florida statutes, we can find no moral justification for either the behavior of persons heard on the recording or the deliberate decision not to render aid to Mr. Dunn.”