COCOA, Fla. — On Friday, the Florida State Attorney's Office announced that the four juveniles and one adult who laughed and recorded a Florida man's drowning death last year, will not face any criminal charges.
Jamel Dunn, 31, drowned in a retention pond in Cocoa, Florida, on July 12, 2017. Cocoa police say they later discovered that the group, ages 14 to 18, recorded Dunn's drowning on video.
In the video, the teens can be heard laughing at Dunn, saying that they weren't going to help him. One of them even appeared to laugh and say, "He just died!"
According to the State Attorney's Office, there is no law in Florida that requires people to give or call for help when someone's in distress.
Following this incident, State Sen. Debbie Mayfield proposed State Bill 516, which would require a person at the scene of an emergency to provide reasonable assistance to an endangered person, or face criminal charges. The bill "failed to receive sufficient support to pass," said Todd Brown with the State Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors also attempted to pursue a charge on failing to notify the medical examiner of a death, however, the court was unable to find any similar incident in which this law was used for this purpose. The State Attorney's Office says that new legislation will be required to address those concerns.
“I know that everyone was sickened by the callous disregard for human life exhibited by these young people. We can only hope that this was an isolated and rare circumstance that will never happen again,” said State Attorney Phil Archer. “Unfortunately, Florida law does not address this behavior and we are ethically restrained from pursuing criminal charges without a reasonable belief of proving a crime beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”