COCONUT CREEK, FL – According to police, five middle schoolers are facing hate crime charges after allegedly assaulting four white students in a racially-motivated attack.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at the North Recreation Complex, which is very near Lyons Creek Middle School in Coconut Creek, Florida.
According to WSVN, the four “unsuspecting” victims were “targeted and attacked” just before school started.
Coconut Creek Police stated that the incident was “racially provoked.” Students told police that their attackers yelled, “It’s opposite day!” and “Brown power!”
The arrest report noted:
“The group looked at (the student) and stated ‘he is white’ before another student ‘tackled him to the ground which subsequently allowed the group of middle school kids to start hitting him with their hands, feet and phone chargers.’”
Five middle school students, aged between 12 and 15, have been arrested and charged with a hate crime
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) March 12, 2022
One student told NBC 6 that “a group of guys from his school ran over to ‘jump’ him and another group of students.”
The unidentified student added that the attackers “hit and kicked him, and yelled things that made him believe that he was being targeted because he is white.”
The student also said that he had to put his hands up protectively to prevent being hit in the face, and that he was told “this is, like, revenge for what they did in the 1700s for slavery.”
One parent of a victim, Frank Foster, shared a similar “revenge” story, telling WSVN:
“He got out of the car.
“I think he heard some noises, and some kids started saying, ‘We’re gonna get revenge on you for what you did in the past,’ and he got jumped.
“They hit him and ran off to some other kids and kept going.”
According to ClickOrlando.com, the victims were white and 11 to 12 years old, and their alleged attackers ranged from 11 to 15 years old.
“Police reports list them [the alleged attackers] as both Black and white, most with Hispanic surnames.”
NBC 6 reports “no serious injuries” after the attack.
According to WSVN, even though the attack did not happen on school property, the school principal notified parents of the incident via robo-call, saying “she’s aware of what happened and is working with police.”
Understandably, family members were concerned, with an older sister of a student telling WSVN:
“Knowing this, no, I don’t think she’s safe.”
Frank Foster noted about his son who was attacked:
“He’s scared to go back to school, obviously, around the same kids in the hallways.”
“It’s concerning what’s going on in the school, and they don’t really seem to be doing much about it.
“The steps they take don’t really protect the kids.
“The options are to go to a different school and run away or be in the same school with the same kids again.”
According to Local 10 News, parents said that “the incident is part of a bigger bullying problem on campus and that it continues to get worse.”
However, WSVN reports that one “concerned parent,” Diana Quiroga, appears to disagree with that assessment of the school’s climate.
She told the news outlet:
“My stepson and my daughter go to this school and then I even have a high schooler who goes to Monarch, that came to Lyons Creek, and it was always just a good school.
“It’s kind of odd that anything like this might have happened.”
Five Florida middle schoolers are facing battery and hate crime charges after police say they attacked white students using racial taunts and slurs. https://t.co/p7CcidUSGk
— News 6 WKMG (@news6wkmg) March 11, 2022
Foster shared with Local10.com that his son continued to endure bullying even after the attack.
He said his son was receiving text messages accusing him of snitching:
“People at school are calling him a snitch for reporting it and doing the right thing.”
A group of middle school students were arrested after they were accused of committing a hate crime near their school, according to police. https://t.co/WDgaEfXJ5X
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) March 11, 2022
Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal said in a statement:
“We are disappointed to take law enforcement action in response to a racially-motivated crime by school-aged children within the City of Coconut Creek.
“This is an extremely rare occurrence in our community. But these are children, and as such, poor judgment can occur.”
“As always, we will work closely with our school officials to see that the suspects are appropriately dealt with, the victims receive appropriate services, and that the incident doesn’t manifest into further conflict.
“Finally, we will take appropriate action to ensure that all of our kids are safe before, during, and after school throughout Coconut Creek.”
The five alleged attackers have been charged with “battery and prejudice while committing battery,” which means that the misdemeanor battery charge has been elevated to a felony.
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‘You know who I am, right?’: Florida congressional candidate caught on camera threatening officer’s job
Originally published February 28, 2022
SARASOTA, FL – A candidate in a Florida state congressional race has issued an apology after being caught on tape threatening a police officer’s job and making disparaging remarks about her nationality during a traffic stop.
Sarasota's Martin Hyde, candidate for a seat in FL's congress, is at it once again. This is just the latest in a string of displays of his boorish, entitled, disrespectful attitudes toward local citizens. He should not be representing anyone, anywhere.https://t.co/tTqETlDbRa
— Never Trump – Never Again! (@NeverTrumpNeve1) February 23, 2022
Martin Hyde, 57, pulled over by Sarasota police officer Julia Beskin on February 14 for speeding when body camera footage captured him telling the officer she would hurt her career by issuing him a ticket.
In the video, you can hear him trying to use his status as a candidate to intimidate the officer.
In the video, the female officer explains to Hyde that he is being pulled over for speeding and texting while driving. He responded:
“You know who I am, right?
“I’ll just call the chief, how about that?”
When the officer walked back to Hyde’s vehicle to issue the citation, he made a racist comment about her nationality as an immigrant from Latvia. Hyde asked:
“Is it your Russian immigrant status that makes you talk to people like this?”
This POS mistreated a police officer, failed to comply, threatened her and flipped her off more than once. That’s what you do when you don’t respect the blue.
Martin Hyde, gop candidate in Sarasota, Fl threatens to end officer's career over traffic stop
'Do you know who I am?' pic.twitter.com/ZZXKlCmRLT
— Martha Mitchell💛 (@MarthaVotesBlue) February 23, 2022
Hyde accused the officer of being rude and asked how long the seven-year police veteran had been on the force. He demanded the officer call her supervisors to the scene.
Hyde told Officer Beskin:
“Go call the chief. Tell him how rude you’ve just been to me. Play him this (bodycam) video. Then call (City Manager) Marlon Brown. Then you call the mayor.”
During the entire encounter, the officer remained professional despite the insults made by Hyde. When she tried to explain the citations being issued to him, he told her he did not want to address her any longer:
“I’m not interested. I’m a law-abiding citizen, and you’re being bloody rude to me.”
The officer continued explaining the citation and then returned to her patrol car to await backup after calling for backup for a driver being extremely uncooperative.”
At one point, Hyde told the officer she was “making career decisions.”
When backup officers arrived, Hyde told one officer:
“We’re going to make sure that she pays the price for being disrespectful.”
The video went viral on social media and the political hopeful issued a thin apology on local news outlet WFLA blaming his “ratty” mood:
“So, this isn’t a question of Martin Hyde disliking cops, this is a question of Martin Hyde being in ratty mood on a Monday morning and acting in a way that he regrets.
“I am sorry. And I would like to think that I will learn from it. I would like to think other people might learn something from it too.”
Reportedly, he also apologized to Officer Beskin in person for being “belligerent and rude.” He paid the fines for the three citations.
Martin Hyde’s apology is such a load of f-ing BS! https://t.co/j4kFr5bPXy
— Nicole 🇺🇦 🌻 (@nmo941) February 23, 2022
He went further with an apology posted to social media, apologizing to the officer and the community for his actions:
“Just over a week ago I was stopped in Sarasota for speeding. During the stop I was belligerent and rude to the officer who stopped me. Much interest has been shown in local media and many comments made as to my behavior.
I’m not going to justify my poor temper on that day or attempt to mitigate it in any way. There will be some who will say it’s not the first time I’ve acted out and they’d be right. I have faults and one of them is to be overly aggressive on occasion when I’m challenged.
In the political arena that is possibly a good thing but on a personal level it’s not.
“I’ve apologized to the officer in question, and now I’m apologizing to the community as a whole. I’m going to do my utmost to behave better going forward. I’m not running away though as that’s not in my nature.
There is nothing more I can say or will say on this subject other than I’m sorry for any offence caused to anyone.”
Martin Hyde, Republican congressional candidate, threatening a cop because she pulled him over for texting and driving and speeding. They’re only about backing the blue when cops are being criticized for killing black people. This is just part of the video pic.twitter.com/yLQVm2v8LS
— Snarky Blonde (@Orvieto2016) February 27, 2022
Despite the apology blaming his mood, this is not the first time he has used his status to intimidate police in an attempt to gain special favor. The Herald-Tribune reported that Hyde had been involved in several similar traffic incidents:
“In 2013, officers responded to a traffic incident wherein Hyde reportedly told the officer he would contact the city manager or police chief and Hyde ‘advised this officer he would not say that he pays my salary, but he pays a lot of taxes in the city.’”
Hyde, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, for his District 16 seat, has taken down his campaign’s Facebook page. He also set his official campaign Instagram page to private and removed his LinkedIn account.
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