Video of a teenage Muslim girl being beaten by a group of other girls will not be investigated as a hate crime, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (“PBSO”).
Still, all of the girls who participated in the fight are being criminally charged after apparently making a mutual decision to brawl at an agreed upon time and place–Palm Beach’s South County Regional Park on Thursday evening of last week.
Video of the beatdown went viral last Friday after Shaun King at The Intercept shared the footage and cast it as a violent incident of Islamophobia. Directing his comments at the PBSO, he wrote, “was told this is in your town and that this young Muslim girl had been harassed for months before she was brutally assaulted here…” In a separate post, he wrote, “Please help me identify these women who brutally assaulted this young Muslim girl. Boca Raton Police Services Department – what are you going to do about this?”
In the video, one girl can be seen attacking another girl, Manaal, before taking her down. As Manaal falls, a group of other girls moves in and begins to beat her with their fists repeatedly. A crowd quickly surrounds the scene–phones out–and films as the beating continues. At one point, another girl attempts to break up the fight by taking two of the attackers aside. But as Manaal attempts to get away, the girls move in again, beating her further.
Prior to King’s intervention, the girl’s father, Shakeel Munshi, posted video of the attack as well, writing on Facebook:
My daughter Manaal Munshi (14 years – 9th grade student) was getting bullied by couple of school (West Boca High School, Boca Raton, FL) girls because she was Muslim. Today (DEC 21st) she decided to get this over and talk to girls but beaten badly by gang of girls. She didn’t picked up a hand because don’t want to fight back.
– My wife called police as soon as found out and pressed charges against the girls.
– Let’s see how USA rule of law works!!
However, in a response provided to the Palm Beach Post, the PBSO claimed, “at NO time was race or bullying ever discussed, determined or considered to have played a role in the altercation.”
Rather, the PBSO said, the beating stemmed from the girls fighting over “a boy.”
The case is now being referred to the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.
[image via screengrab]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher