Viral Violence: The Legal Ramifications

By  | 

Video fights are an ongoing problem
And the law is now following suit.
There are no direct laws against recording a fight and posting it on social media.
But police are finding a way to crackdown.
Did you know if you are caught assaulting someone off campus, you could be behind bars for up to twenty years?
We continue our series now, on taking a deeper look at video fights.

School Resource Officers patrol every school in the Wiregrass.
The recent trend of fights going viral concerns them.
When I sat down with school resource officer Wayne Adkison he made it clear they will not stand for it.

:19 wayne adkison
Sro, headland high school

"fights being filmed on YouTube or Facebook, can actually be used in a court of law, civil or criminal , " says School Resource Officer Wayne Adkison.

On the criminal side, the list of charges are long.

"The people involved can be charged with complicity, you have assault issues, if it's serious enough you can get into felonies, where the victim does not have to file the charges, the state can actually file charges," says School Resource Officer Wayne Adkison.

And when it comes to civil cases?

"You have the civil revocation of them having to pay for doctor bills," says School Resource Officer Wayne Adkison.

And if you are thinking that simply posting that video leaves you off the hook, well think again.
It's not uncommon for Adkison and his colleagues to use video posted on social media, to help them prosecute those involved.

"Some students here have been involved with fights that have been recorded, they have been placed on Facebook and we were able to retrieve those videos and I will be presenting those to the district attorney," says School Resource Officer Wayne Adkison.

Here is a breakdown of the time a juvenile could face.
Two to twenty years imprisonment.
Up to a $30,000 fine.
Probation time, meeting with an officer and attending counseling sessions, community service time, all determined by a judge.

"You lose a lot of rights. Right to vote, right to carry a pistol permit, a felony never goes away," says School Resource Officer Wayne Adkison.

At Northview High School in Dothan
School resource officer Jim Matheny says it's all too common for students to record fights.
But he stresses if even just one student steps up and hands him the video, before it goes viral.
It makes it all a lot easier

"Whenever I get something brought in, I've got to look at the whole picture, and that's part of my evidence and part of my tools, that I work to see what I have in a video if I have one, and they bring it to me and if I can make a case, I can continue my investigation by identifying who is in there, and the school will punish them if they do up load it," says School Resource Officer Jim Matheny.

Meet Mary Kelley Hall...
She says, she knows all too well what if feels like to be in the midst of one of these incidents, after getting into a verbal altercation at school Mary Kelley says she was ganged up on by a group of girls

"I got a snap chat from a girl that was in the class...she said she was one of the girls waiting outside and how it wasn't over, she was flicking me off and different things," says Hall.

She says the threats got out of control and law enforcement didn't do enough.

"One thing they should be doing is asking me how can I help you, what is your issue?" says Hall.

Mary Kelley says the shame of returning to school was so bad it forced her to graduate early.

"I should not have had to give up my high school experience, what they should have done was dealt with the issue and they didn't," says Hall.

But law enforcement says it's not always open and shut.

"We have to get all of our search warrants, our subpoenas’, it takes time, but it does get done, it does come to us it does work, but the case itself is slow process,” says School Resource Officer Jim Matheny.

"I’ve got to get the whole picture and build my case"

A case where hitting fast-forward doesn't necessarily mean skipping to the next part.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus