The assault of a Florida teen, which went viral on social media last week, is not being viewed as a “hate crime,” according to Hamilton County authorities.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page on Friday, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said it had discussed charges with the State Attorney’s Office regarding the five students arrested in connection to the attack.
The Hamilton County State Attorney’s Office determined the incident did not “meet the criteria for a hate crime,” according to the post.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office announced on Saturday that the students face misdemeanor battery charges for their alleged roles in the Nov. 21 attack, CBS affiliate WCTV reported.
Cellphone video of the attack, reportedly shot by another student and obtained from school officials, went viral after being shared to Twitter by the 14-year-old victim’s mother.
The boy’s family claimed on social media that the boy was targeted because he wore a “Trump” hat.
“Keep in mind this is only the first 21 seconds of the video,” the mother, who goes by the username @AmericanDiaries on Twitter, tweeted on Thursday. “Please RT to have these two girls and 3 boys held accountable.”
According to the victim’s mother, her son was hospitalized following the assault.
Some users on social media have pushed back against the mother’s claims following the emergence of a video purporting to show her son exchanging blows with a female student.
According to one user on Twitter, that video was taken in September.
— Heather (@RandomDescent) December 14, 2019
The incident prompting an outcry from many supporters of President Donald Trump and high-profile conservatives, including Charlie Kirk and Rudy Giuliani.
The attorney representing the victim’s family said on Friday that they are “extremely grateful for the encouragement and support they have received” in the aftermath of the attack.
“Please continue to lift them up during this hectic holiday season!” Foye Walker tweeted.
Hamilton County School District Superintendent Rex Mitchell said in a statement issued Friday that the school had investigated the incident, disciplined the students involved and turned evidence over to the local sheriff’s office.
Mitchell also said the school found no evidence that the victim’s pro-Trump attire had anything to do with the attack.
- An unidentified boy is seen being assaulted in a video posted to Twitter on December 12, 2019.: Screen grab