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7 teens arrested in beating of boy
8 years ago

MORE BULLYING....Check out the local report on CNN affiliate WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. Also, don't miss HLN's "The Joy Behar Show" at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday for an interview with the victim of bullying and his mom.

Philadelphia (CNN) -- Seven teenagers were in custody Tuesday in connection with the beating of a 13-year-old boy, attacked while he was walking home from school this month in a Philadelphia suburb, authorities said.

Six youths were arrested Monday at an alternative program at Upper Darby High School, Upper Darby police Lt. Thomas Sharp said. A seventh, who was absent Monday, was arrested Tuesday, he said. The 13-year-old and all seven suspects attended the alternative program, called the Opportunity Center.

The attack took place January 11, Sharp said. The school district's security force heard chatter about the incident among students and notified police, he said.

A video taken on the cell phone of one of the suspects shows the boy being kicked, dragged through the snow and stuffed into a tree, then hung from his jacket on a tall wrought-iron fence. On the video, the boy can be heard screaming as his attackers laugh.

Asked if police know what prompted the attack, Sharp told CNN, "Bullying ... just picking on somebody."

"It was seven against one," said Michael Chitwood, police superintendent for Upper Darby Township. "It was a wolf pack."

"Bullying has always been amongst us, but these thugs videotape themselves and then go on social-network sites and become heroes," he said. "These kids, these thugs, these criminals have a sense of empowerment. The mentality is idiotic, but it helps us solve crimes."

Police confiscated the video before it was posted to any networking sites, he said.

"It (videotaping) changes the whole dynamic," he said. "It validates what happened."

The suspects range in age from 13 to 17 and will face juvenile charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, criminal restraint, terroristic threats, reckless endangering of another person and conspiracy, Chitwood said.

Police would not identify the victim. The boy, however, told CNN affiliate WPVI-TV that he "tried to get out, tried to leave, tried to escape, tried to get out (of) the tree and run away, but even when I did that -- got out of the tree the first time -- they attacked me and they caught me again."

The boy was not seriously injured, Sharp said.

The boy's mother told WPVI that the family came to America from Liberia in 2000 in search of a better life.

"This is the land full of milk and honey," she told the station. "We all came here for the honey. ... This is crazy, I mean, there's nothing you can do to protect your own kids."

"Bullying is terrorizing people," Chitwood said. "It's a crime. That's why I took (the suspects) out of school in handcuffs. It's not a joke."

The beating reportedly occurred at an apartment complex, and police said at least one person walked by and did nothing, despite the boy's calls for help. "No one called 911," police Capt. George Rhoades told WPVI.

"I've been a cop for 47 years," Chitwood said. "The criminal element out there is more brazen than it's ever been. The world of technology has empowered them, and I don't say that in a positive way."

Five of the seven suspects have no criminal records, he said. Of the two who do, one -- a 14-year-old -- has two previous assault charges.

All the suspects were being held at the Lima Juvenile Detention Center in Lima, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles west of Upper Darby, he said. A detention hearing will be held in the next few days.

In a phone message to parents Monday night, Upper Darby School District Superintendent Louis DeVlieger praised the efforts of teachers, school district security and police in the case, saying they show "how seriously we take the safety and well-being of our students even when an event takes place off campus on the way home from school."

In the statement, DeVlieger said the alternative school program is "for students who have exhibited poor decisions in the past and are therefore removed from the high school to protect the regular high school student population."

The program has been successful in helping many students rehabilitate, he said, but "apparently the students taken by the police today chose to continue to make bad decisions that ultimately resulted in their arrests and removal from school."

"Today we had 12,134 great kids in our district and six that gave us great concern," he said. "The good sure outweighs the bad in this district by a large margin. Remember that each and every day."

Upper Darby is just west of Philadelphia.

This post was modified from its original form on 01 Feb, 15:12

This post was modified from its original form on 01 Feb, 15:12
Thank You For the Heads Up
8 years ago

On the Joy Behar show ! Got it locked in for 10 pm mytime. You Rock.

8 years ago



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