Charges Pursued in Drowning Investigation

Friday, July 21, 2017 3:46 PM

DETECTIVES WILL PURSUE CHARGES AGAINST TEENS WHO MOCKED DROWNING MAN

Detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office have determined charges will be pursued in the case of five teens who recorded video of man as he drowned, mocked him and failed to render aid. The teens, who are between the ages of 14 and 18, will face a charge of failure to report a death under Florida Statute 406.12. It is a misdemeanor. “When we initially reviewed this case it was determined there were no laws broken as the teens were not directly involved with the death,” said Chief Mike Cantaloupe. “Further research of the statutes and consultation with the State Attorney’s Office yielded the decision to move forward with charges under this statute. It’s our belief that this law has never been enforced in a scenario like this, but we feel it could be applicable.”

 On July 9th a group of teens at Bracco Park witnessed a man, later identified as Jamel Dunn, 31, in the water. They used a cell phone to record video of him as he appeared to be drowning. The teens are heard on the video taunting and laughing at Dunn whose body wasn’t discovered until July 14th. A passerby called to report a body floating in the pond. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be drowning. Further investigation revealed Dunn went into the water willingly and on his own. Video evidence from a neighbor’s home security camera shows him scaling a fence and intentionally going into the pond. It is not known what Dunn’s motives were at the time he went into the water. “Regardless of the circumstances surrounding his decision to enter the water that day, there is absolutely no justification for what the teens did,” Chief Cantaloupe added. “Pursuing criminal charges is a way to hold them accountable for their own actions.”

 The charging document along with the case report and video evidence will be sent to the State Attorney’s Office for review and determination if the charges will be prosecuted.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding his decision to enter the water that day, there is absolutely no justification for what the juveniles did. As law enforcement officers we are sworn to uphold and enforce the laws.