Florida Teens Who Recorded Drowning Man Will Not Be Charged in His Death

Cocoa, FL — A group of Florida teens who taunted a drowning man while filming his death from afar will not be criminally charged, according to police.

WARNING: Portions of the video are disturbing; viewer discretion is advised

In the more than two-minute long video, the five teen boys — who are between the ages of 14 and 16 — can be heard laughing as the man struggles to stay afloat, police say, in a pond near his family’s Cocoa, Florida, home.

Instead of calling for help, the teens recorded the incident on a cell phone, chuckling during the victim’s final moments.

The teens can be heard warning the man that he was “going to die” and they were not going to help him. At one point, one of the teen boys can be heard laughing, saying “he dead.”

Police: Family of victim ‘frustrated’ in lack of accountability

The state of Florida currently does not have a law where a citizen is obligated to render aid or call for help for anyone in distress.

“If there was (a law like that) we would charge them,” Cocoa Police Department spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez told CNN by phone.

“The family is frustrated … the detectives are frustrated, that we cannot hold anyone accountable for this,” Martinez added. “No one deserves to go like that.”

Teens showed no remorse over drowning death

Police say the incident happened on July 9, but even after the teens recorded the video and witnessed the man drown, they did nothing to alert authorities.

“At least one of the teens expressed no remorse while being interviewed by detectives,” Martinez said, claiming the fact that they did not report the incident to authorities further speaks to their lack of remorse.

The family of the victim, identified as 31-year-old Jamel Dunn, initially filed a missing person’s report on July 12, three days after he had already drowned.

His body was recovered from the water on July 14.

Victim’s sister posted drowning video on Facebook

A woman who identified herself as Dunn’s sister, Simone Scott, said she received the video of her brother’s drowning on Saturday. She subsequently posted the video publicly on Facebook.

The state attorney’s office urged the media “out of concern for the affected family and friends of Mr. Dunn that it not be published in whole or in part.”

Given that Mr. Dunn’s sister has encouraged the public to share the video, CNN has chosen to publish a small portion of the incident, as well as the audio of the teens’ comments in full.

Police: Victim was struggling for 10 minutes before death

Police say that on the morning he drowned, Dunn had gotten into a “verbal altercation” with his mother and “possibly his fiancé,” during which he told his fiancé to “leave the house,” Martinez said.

“(His fiancé) left the home at about 12:40 p.m. Based on the video, he went into the water at about 12:50 p.m. and then drowned. He was in the water struggling for one or two minutes for the video portion,” Martinez told CNN.

“We don’t have anything criminal resulting from that incident,” Martinez said. “Our detectives were trying to get potentially if a negligence law could apply. The state attorney advises it doesn’t meet standard for a criminal charge.”

“We are deeply saddened and shocked at both the manner in which Mr. Dunn lost his life and the actions of the witnesses to this tragedy,” the state attorney’s office said in a statement. “While the incident depicted on the recording does not give rise to sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution under Florida statutes, we can find no moral justification for either the behavior of persons heard on the recording or the deliberate decision not to render aid to Mr. Dunn.”

In a statement, Cocoa police chief Mike Cantaloupe said he hopes Dunn’s death will lead to new laws that would “apply to this scenario.”

“As law enforcement officers, we are sworn to uphold and enforce the laws,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are no laws in Florida that apply to this scenario. Perhaps this case may be what’s needed to pass new laws.”

“As chief of police, there are times when I wish I could do more. But I’m a firm believer in that good will always win over evil,” he added. “It may not come in our lifetime, but there will be justice.”

The teens were interviewed by police, during which they admitted to being in the area “smoking weed,” police said.

Their identities have not been released because they are juveniles who committed no crime, police say. But the nature of the incident has troubled even the most seasoned law enforcement officials.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, probably 20 years or more … I was horrified. My jaw dropped,” Martinez said.

“To think that anyone would just lack any kind of moral conscience to call for help,” Martinez said. “It’s one thing to see something and not want to put yourself at risk, but to not call anybody, to sit there and to laugh and humiliate this person is beyond my comprehension.”

“I feel like something should be done to (the teens),” Dunn’s sister said in a Facebook Live video she posted on Thursday. “I don’t care if it’s probation or something, it just needs to be an eye-opener. A lesson learned.”

“If they can sit there and watch somebody die in front of their eyes, imagine what they’re going to do when they get older. Where’s the morals?” she asked.

57 comments

  • KIKI

    The teens should be punished is some way or form.
    To watch a man drown and die and not even call 911
    Smoking weed, how lovely… is that not a crime in FL?
    To bad ignorance and stupidity are not grounds for punishment.

  • Renee Walls

    The man drowned July 9. The family did not file a missing person’s complaint until July 12th? When they knew he was disabled & upset when he left his home ? ! It sounds like to me that Mr. Dunn was the only moral person in his community.

  • common sense stuff

    weakest generation ever (millennials), saving his life wouldn’t personally benefit them so they didn’t

  • magicmikexxsm

    This is sad, what the hell are parents teaching or should I say not teaching kids today…..in the early 70’s as a teen if I did this my father would have killed me.

    • Julie

      How did this man get in the water? He was probably put there by the kids! A man who obviously cannot swim finds himself in middle of a pond?

      • Julie

        Hate like this, if you read all of the comments does nothing but breed more hate. When will it stop? The fact that this happened and people respond with…”I will kill those kids” is the SAME THING !!! It starts with the violence of hitting children and the neglect of self centered parents when they are young! Why is that so hard to understand?

      • El Ma

        Julie, corporal punishment is not the same as child abuse. It isn’t. Watch how Nature works – parents in the wild get their offspring’s attention, and then it’s over.

        Since the 1980’s, the “non-violent” parent has been promoted. When parents were made to fear their own children for “turning them in” to authorities for “abuse,” everything went down the toilette in a big, fast hurry. A child was taught, in school, that their parents didn’t have the “right” to punish them, on any level. I knew a woman who had her child taken from her in the middle of the night because the child was angry with her for being grounded for doing something stupid and dangerous. The child made the call, the mother lost her job because of police investigations, the child was taken away, and nobody apologized to this woman when it was all discovered that the child just wanted revenge.

        “Violence” is something that exists within the Universe. Stars explode or implode. Galaxies collide. Antelope are ambushed by hungry crocodile. But, human beings know the difference between “life” and violent behavior. Wanna know why our culture is so violent, today? Listen to contemporary “music” by the thugs-turned-recording-stars – LISTEN to the lyrics, Julie. Watch television programming. Watch it with an objective eye. The people who act-out in the worst possible ways are “rewarded” with fame, celebrity, and money.

        These teenagers weren’t violent, at all. They were devoid of a conscience, empathy, pity, or remorse. Pure psychopaths. And, that’s what all of this has garnered: putting the raising of our children into the hands of day-care workers, babysitters, neighbors, video games, cell phones, FaceBook, and all of the rest.

    • Ashley

      Yeah i guess a culture that has a reputation of molesting children, killing their parents, having sex with animals, trolls video with black people to say racist shit anonymously and smokes meth has it all together?

      • El Ma

        I was around during the Civil Rights Movement – Martin Luther King, Jr. did NOT sacrifice his life for people of color to devolve in the manner that they have chosen to. Rev. King fought with white people alongside him to raise people of color up to equality. And, God bless the man – wherever he’s buried, it’s nothing but raw earth from his spinning in his grave.

        So, calling something as it is may not be pleasant, but I will not dip a pig turd in sugar and call it candy. The statistics are very clear on people of color and criminal violence. You may not “like” it and I may not “like” it, but it’s true, nevertheless.

  • dianne

    God, allow me the opportunity to see at least one of those five animals needing help. Please allow me – I want to extend the same courtesy they did to the drowning man.

  • Darlin Bonchek

    What kind of youth are people raising….the world is in a sad state if this is who we are leaving the planet too.

  • George

    I hope these teens have friends who help them find remorse for not, at least seaking help for the drowning man. Perhaps they will remember and the regret will get them later.

  • Are you for real?

    True pieces of crap. Sue the parents of these low lifes. It is clear that they are raising the worst kind of human beings in the state. Or hand them over to some pa pedophiles see if someone calls for help for them

  • Jill

    This will bother them the rest of their lives, Hopefully they didn’t really anticipate him drowning or dying. The Parents of these teenagers need to step it up a lot if this is true. They all should be required by law to seek Therapy!!! God Bless that poor man and his family!!!!

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      Are you kidding me? This isn’t going to bother them!

      You must be part of that group that actually thinks there’s hope for this species!!

      Hahaha, I pity you as much as those teenagers.

    • El Ma

      Jill, no it won’t. None of these individuals will ever lose a wink of sleep over their callous indifference and refusal to take any action other than to record a horrific, dreadful, and terrifying death of another human being. These “kids” are what is commonly termed, “sociopaths.” They are probably within the higher level of sociopath and will likely end up killing someone for kicks.

      The Universe cannot tolerate a vacuum, nor an imbalance and this is why stars are born, planets collide, and monsters like these will experience karma. For me, personally, I cannot fathom how a young person could be that empty of spirit to find witnessing the drowning of another human being entertaining or humorous. I cannot wrap my head around such a creature.

      This is what we’re breeding within our youth, now. No remorse. No pity. No empathy. No conscience. Wonderful.

    • Charlotte

      I don’t think it will bother them the rest of their lives, they feel no remorse now so how could it ever bother them? How could they not anticipate he would die when he was drowning as they filmed it and laughed. There’s no therapy for people without conscience or morals…there is no hope for them. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, I just see it differently.

  • Marie

    Get parenting of these piece of SH&T teenagers. Blame the parents for not teaching these kids compassion, responsibility and remorse for their actions. A man died and they let him. If any one of those were my kids, they’d be getting an ass kicking. They woould be grounded till they were 18. Then I’d kick their ass oout into the world and see how they like it.

    • El Ma

      Grounded until they’re 18? LMAO!!!!!!!!!! First of all, none of my children would ever be a part of something so heinous. But, if they were, I’d beat them within an inch of their lives, pass them off to foster care, and write them off as the psychopaths that they are.

      No. These creatures are never, ever, EVER going to “come around” and realize what they were a party to. They’ll boast, laugh, and slap each other on the back, “Dude! Dat nigga was gwone down, yo!”

  • Bridget

    The man’s family should bring a wrongful death suit against the kids and their entire families!!!

  • E

    This is disgusting, and I can only hope justice is somehow served, but we watch people die all the time. People die every day that might live if someone would help them….. the homeless, the hungry, those that can’t afford medical treatment, etc. The only difference here is that they actually stood there and watched. If you’re one of those people that’s for cutting healthcare, cutting food stamps, cutting welfare, cutting drug treatment,……. you’re doing the same thing as these idiots did. You’re just doing it from afar. As the old commercial used to say, “I learned it from watching you!”

    • Charlotte

      This is about the unbelievably vicious, senseless disregard for a man drowning while teens laughed, filmed it and taunted him.

    • RCM

      Why does everything, EVERYTHING, have to revert to politics? So sick of it. These kids did not go around taking peoples money and then cut medical care or welfare or food stamps like the government…they deliberately taunted, recorded and refused to make any effort at all to help a fellow human being who was DYING right in front of them!!! How can you even compare such a thing to government programs?! What really bothers me is that out of five kids, there was not ONE who felt the need to reach out or help this man in some way. Our society is in trouble, and taxpayer dollars and government programs are NOT what will save it. It will take people reaching out and connecting with other people, people who know how to teach the younger generation about respect, manners, right and wrong, caring and love. I do believe the saying “It takes a village”, but one of the big problems is it is not just the teen generation that needs to learn these things, it’s also their parents and maybe grandparents. Things have been ignored too long.

      • E

        Because, like it or not, it is related. As much as most people want to ignore it, how we choose to represent ourselves has an impact on our youth. We call politicians our leaders. We talk about how great our country is (no matter what we do) and we call our president the leader of the free word. Kids hear this, then they see how these people behave and model that behavior.
        Look at the insensitive, hateful, racist comments here. You’re ok with that, but just can’t stand when someone interjects politics into the conversation. Doesn’t that make you question what our kids see every day….. what has become ‘normal’?
        You think a black kid reading these comments feels inspired to walk a righteous path? Why should they? These knuckle-draggers won’t see them as anything but ni**ers no matter what. And you’re ok with that.
        We’ve put a chauvinistic, lying, cheating, uniformed, racist buffoon in the most respected office in our country it sends a message. Obviously, the situation runs much deeper, but we’re pushing more and more people in this direction.

    • RCM

      I NEVER said I was okay with the derogatory comments made on this page. They are unacceptable and uncalled for, BUT, what these kids did is not political. IF it is, you need to go back further than an administration that has been in office for only 7 months, back to the previous administration that was there during their formative years. Perhaps they learned from that administration that they can do whatever they want, that they don’t have to follow any rules, even the ones of common decency. As I’ve said, these teens actions are not the results of politics.

      • El Ma

        E, the world isn’t perfect. It never will be. Do you honestly believe that former President Clinton was any less of a chauvinistic pig? He was IMPEACHED for his conduct. What does any of that have to do with these juveniles being full-blown psychopaths? They aren’t mimicking political figures, you fool. They’re mimicking the apathy and disregard for humanity as they have witnessed within their own culture.

        The behaviors of these individuals isn’t political. It’s psychopathic. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the comments, but the facts about this have nothing to do with RACISM. The facts do NOT have an agenda, E. The facts are benign and are simply facts. These youths are a part and party of those facts. And, they didn’t even commit a crime, here, according to Florida Law. Because of that, they will push the edge of the proverbial envelope with their reckless and senseless behaviors. One of these juveniles will do something even more heinous that taunting a dying man – count on it.

        I cannot force a plastic bottle to change into a kitten, no matter how hard I wish, how much I pray for it, or how much I pretend that it does. These juveniles are psychopaths, and their “thug life” culture is part of the problem – LISTEN to what they’re saying to one another and that drowning man, and claim something otherwise if it makes you feel better.

  • whatever831

    But let’s put them all over national news so now they think they’re famous. Bunch of lowlifes. Just disgusting.

    • E

      Oh, I think they should be made famous. ‘Leak’ their names. They’ll get all the attention they can handle and more.

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t they charge them with the crime of making a snuff film? Since it is obviously illegal to make and publish a snuff film and this is obviously a video of a man dying and was published by them.

    • El Ma

      Anonymous, sadly, Florida law doesn’t have any remedy for this type of situation, although I imagine that National public outrage (as there SHOULD be) will force legislators in that State to draft a Bill to make it a serious crime. It should be, but it isn’t yet.

      The best thing that could happen would be for their names to somehow be released, for them to be forced to work as a cleanup crew in a morgue, and do community service for about a year. But, there’s no remedy for this, so a Civil Suit might be a course of action for the victims’ family. Not that they’d ever see a penny of the award, but ………. well, it’s the only other option.

      Sick, depraved, and just unfathomable.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Like I say, “you’re all nuts.”

    There’s the future right there folks.

    You’re on your own.

    • RCM

      I don’t know why, but I got the feeling it may have been a suicide. The way the article read about him fighting with his mom and fiancé, then he told is fiancé she had to get out…she left at 12:40 and he walked into the pond at 12:50. IF it was that, very sad that an emotional decision made in a second can sometimes not be undone, or that no one will help undo it, even when asked.

  • Karen Terry

    So we’re going to say smoking pot had nothing to do with a persons judgement. You think if these good for nothing brats hadn’t been under the influence they may have called for help, because they were more worried about the consequences of smoking pot I bet .

    • Karen Terry

      How is that even relavent to some brats not even calling for help,the same law also go if you crashed into that lake & they didn’t call for help because they were probably more worried about themselves getting into trouble. If it would have been one of my kids their ass would be grass & I’d be the lawnmower

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