Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice today recommended probation for two of the three black teens charged in a vicious school-bus attack on a white student in Gulfport, Fla., last month, according to the Tampa Tribune.
The state agency has not recommended a punishment for the third teen, but prosecutors say they have not made any plea offers in the case.
“The state is not offering probation,” said Bruce Bartlett, the chief assistant state attorney for the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office. “We are not making a statement where probation is appropriate by any stretch of the imagination.”
The father of one of three black teens, said his son is “sorry” for taking part in the July beating that made national headlines.
Julian McKnight said his son Julian, 15, has “had his consequences” in the aftermath of the July 9 assault in Pinellas County, Fla.
“This is life. I am sorry what happened to the victim. It’s just the way it is. My son ain’t never been no bad person, he just got mixed [up] with bad people, that’s all … he’s sorry,” said the elder McKnight during an appearance in court Tuesday.
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As WND reported, a cell-phone video captured the 13-year-old boy’s screams for help as he was pummeled with fists and kicked by three bigger, older youths who “ganged up” on him as he was about to get off at his bus stop.
The bus driver told authorities he was too afraid to physically intervene. And according to Lealman Intermediate School’s policy, he is only required to call dispatch.
“The three boys just jumped on him and started pounding on him. And I did all I can,” he told WFLA-TV. “I was looking. It was like I was in shock. I was petrified.”
Police say the youths attacked the victim after he told officials at their drop-out prevention school that one of them had tried to sell him drugs.
Former Florida Rep. Allen West chided Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for their silence in the wake of the attack, noting they condemned the state of Florida following the Trayvon Martin shooting.
“Three 15-yr-old black teens beat up a 13-yr-old white kid because he told school officials they tried to sell him drugs,” the former Army colonel wrote on his Facebook page. “Do you hear anything from Sharpton, Jackson, NAACP, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, liberal media, or Hollywood? Cat got your tongues or is it that pathetic hypocrisy revealing itself once again? Y’all just make me sick.”
Jackson later said the two cases were not comparable.
“In one case a man was unarmed, killed by another man,” Jackson told Breitbart.
“Last year, 135 blacks were killed, black men, unarmed, killed by vigilantes, police, killed by security guards, so whether it’s the case of Oakland, Calif., or the case in New York, it’s just too much of it. Wherever it occurs, it must always be discouraged; there must be a deterrent from it occurring. We must urge people to live in civilized ways,” he said.
The three teens arrested in the attack — Lloyd Khemradj, Julian McKnight and Joshua Reddin — are all charged with aggravated battery. Reddin is also charged with unarmed robbery, because police say he took the victim’s money after the assault.
Another hearing is scheduled for Aug. 27. Lawyers are expected to delve into the teens’ backgrounds and discuss possible punishments then.
Prosecutors contemplated charging the three as adults but opted not to because of their ages and lack of any serious criminal background, Bartlett said.