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A man in Asheville, North Carolina, has been arrested after he was captured on video pushing a Black girl and then punching her in the face with so much force that she fell to the ground.
In a video released by ABC13, 51-year-old David Steven Bell is seen at first standing in a crowd of minors outside Asheville Mall. There is some verbal interaction before the video changes direction for a moment. When it comes back to Bell, he is seen punching the girl.
Another video shared by Facebook user Antonio Tarver, shot from a different angle, shows Bell appearing clueless and surrounded by a group of children. When the victim says something to him with her fingers raised, he first pushes her. When she runs back toward him, he punches her to the ground.
Bell was arrested shortly after the incident and has been charged with assault on a child under 12. On police records, Bell is listed as “disabled” under the employment section.
He was arrested by an off-duty officer, ABC13 reports, and has two additional charges on him for two counts of assault on a female. He is being charged under Statute 14-33, which dictates that a person attacking a child under 12-years-old is guilty of Class A1 misdemeanor.
Asheville Mall acknowledged the incident on Twitter, where people are having mixed reactions.
BS! Watch the entire video. 10 squared up against him and pushed him in the back. They deserved to be knocked out.
— Eric Walker (@EricCWalker) January 13, 2019
He had no right to use lethal force and should have called the police, it’s their job to break up fights etc., not his. Period.
— Gillian Humphrey (@gillypants420) January 14, 2019
She did touch him first. Look at the video closely. When he came out they, she pushed him from the back.
— Co-Kema (@Onx22) January 14, 2019
I see a coward overreacting and finally getting some get back at the universe for dealing him the hand of piano teacher.
— KEVIN TAYLOR (@773Kevo) January 14, 2019
At some point are you not allowed to defend yourself from a mob of teenagers clearly attacking you?
— rodriQuez (@rodriQuez) January 14, 2019
Comments on the Facebook video by Tarver also have some people chiming in.
“The fact is, all parties are wrong here!” wrote user Jaime Hudson. “All the big dude needed to do is walk away, he reacted instinctively (still wrongly) after feeling threatened by so [many] kids buzzing around him.”
According to Citizen Times, those injured in the incident didn’t accept offers to be taken to the hospital.
H/T the Root
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque