Booneville Police Chief Al Brown last week addressed in detail the situation involving a video of a fight between two Booneville minors.
Brown said the investigation included interviews with several individuals, including the person believed to have originally posted the video, which has, apparently, been taken down.
Brown said, the investigation has revealed the fight happened more than two weeks ago — though the BPD learned of the video on Feb. 13 — and that it was between two cousins.
The chief also provided context behind the video, which depicts a one-sided fight that ends with a smaller boy being kicked in the head. He also said that statements dispute the victim is mentally challenged, which had been stated in posts accompanying the video.
“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 decided 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, which was captured away from school property in a field off Ivy Street. 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,” Brown said.
The mother of the victim has also 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 (the mother states) he is not.”
The victim is also upset at the claim that he is mentally challenged, Brown adds.
“(Wednesday), 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.
The person who initially posted the video has been interviewed, but there has been some confusion as to how that individual obtained the video.
“I misunderstood a part of the interview with the individual who released the video on social media,” Brown said in a statement released Friday morning. “The individual who released the video took the video off of another individual’s phone without their permission.”
In a verbal interview, Brown had previously told the media that a mother had taken it from her son’s phone and posted it. After a written statement was obtained, Brown has clarified that she did not obtain the video from her son.
“She doesn’t know the boy,” is how Brown characterized the relationship between the person who posted the video and the victim. “She regrets posting the video.”
Brown 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.”