Three 15-year old boys brutally beat a 13-year old and broke his arm on a school bus ride home from summer classes in Pinellas County, Fla., and according to the Christian Science Monitor, the 64-year old bus driver will not be charged for child neglience amid criticism of how he handled the situation.
However, all three older teens involved in the fight are facing battery charges, and one of them is charged with taking money from the 13-year old. Police report that the younger boy was kicked and stomped about 23 times, resulting in a broken arm and black eye.
Initially, authorities sought child negligence against the driver, John Moody, who stopped the bus during the attack and radioed for help. By the time the police had arrived, the teens were gone.
"It was preposterous," Moody's attorney, Frank McDermott, told The Tampa Bay Times. "I don't think law enforcement should ever tell citizens to intervene in a violent attack. John did what he was trained to do."
In disturbing surveillance footage captured from the beating, the younger boy is trapped between the bus seats, crying out for help as the blows rain down on him for the older teens. The attack took place on July 9, and at the time, Moody yelled for the teens to leave the boy alone.
"You gotta get somebody here quick, quick, quick, quick," he says on the tape as he calls for him on radio. "They're about to beat this boy to death over here. Please get somebody here quick. There's still doing it. There's nothing I can do."
On Piers Morgan Live, Moody said that it was school policy to call for help on the radio, as at the time he was "in shock" and "petrified," CNN reports.
"Me jumping in the middle of that fight with three boys, it would have been more dangerous for other students on the bus for as myself," he said. "There's just no telling what might have happened."
Two weeks after the attack, Moody retired, unable to cope with what had happened.
"I took it really personal. I had many sleepless nights. I had nightmares," he said.
According to police, the teens attacked the 13-year old boy after he told officials at their dropout prevention summer program that one of them had tried to sell him drugs.
Though the driver did follow school policy, that didn't shield him from criticism, including from Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent.
"There was clearly an opportunity for him to intervene and or check on the welfare of the children or the child in this case, and he didn't make any effort to do so," Vincent told WFLA. However, prosecutors say they have no grounds on which to bring charges against him, as in Pinellas County, drivers are required to call dispatch but not are not required to intervene.
"It wasn't like he was looking out the window cleaning his fingernails or something like that," Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett told WFLA in Moody's defense. While police claim that Moody could have given first-aid to the victim, apparently the teens didn't stick around for long after the fight.
"The kid gets up and skedaddles out the door," said Bartlett. In other counties in Florida, bus drivers are forbidden from getting involved in fights.
"School officials let these two boys back on the bus, or let them on the bus, and Mr. Moody had no idea what had happened at the school," McDermott said.
Do you think Moody should have intervened in the fight, or did he do the right thing? Watch the video footage below and then tell us your opinion!