Mother says victim is not mentally challenged, thought issue was resolved.
Booneville Police Chief Al Brown today addressed in greater detail the situation involving a viral video of a fight between two Booneville minors.
Brown said the investigation has already included interviews with several individuals, and more are scheduled to be conducted.
So far, Brown said, the investigation has revealed the fight happened about two weeks ago — though he restated the BPD was apprised of the video only yesterday — and that it was between two cousins.
The chief also provided context behind the video, and said statements dispute the victim is mentally challenged.
“We were advised the smaller boy made inappropriate comments to the larger boy about (the larger boy’s) family on a chat site and things got heated,” Brown told the Democrat. “From there, the boys agreed to fight and when the larger boy showed up at the smaller boy’s home, the smaller boy’s brothers asked why he was there, and they were told (the smaller boy) wanted to fight.
“The older brothers were there for the entire fight and after it was over, they all sat down and worked it out, and talked for an hour.”
Brown said it was a few days later when school officials learned of the video and administrators then summonsed parents of both boys for a meeting at the school.
“At that time, administrators told us, the parents walked out (of the meeting) with no issues,” said Brown.
Since the Facebook post of the video Tuesday, the mother of the victim has been interviewed, Brown said.
“She advised she doesn’t want to press charges, and she is upset at the person who posted the video,” the chief said. “She is more upset that she labeled her son mentally challenged, which he is not.”
Also upset is the victim, Brown said.
“Today, administrators checked on the young man and he advised them he is now having to deal with people thinking he is mentally challenged,” said Brown.
Also interviewed, Brown said, is the person who initially posted the video.
"She doesn’t know the boy,” said Brown. “She regrets posting the video.”
Since the release of the video, the school, BPD, Booneville Democrat and scores of others in and from Booneville have been inundated with calls, emails and texts — so many that phone numbers of some of those involved have been changed to sidetrack the harassing, often vulgar commentary.
“We’ve received numerous phone calls (at the BPD) cussing us out,” Brown said. “And they’re from people that are not from here, and they don’t have all the facts.”
As he said Tuesday night, Brown again said that all information gathered through the investigation will be turned over to 15th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum II, who will determine what, if any, charges will be pursued by the state.
Asked if the people responsible for filming the video, or those being shown in the video also doing so, could face criminal charges, Brown said, “that’s not up to me, that’s why it’s going to the prosecutor, they will determine that.”