The suspects who violently punched and pummeled a 14-year-old Palm Beach County student to the ground may soon be charged with simple battery, according to a tweet from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
A video of the brawl -- which occurred at South County Park on Dec. 21 -- has been circulating on social media since it was posted on Dec. 22 by the victim's father. Shakeel Munshi said his daughter may have been targeted because she was Muslim, while police say there is no evidence of a hate crime.
"All parties AGREED to meet and to fight at a specific location & time," PBSO said in a tweet, adding that a PBSO deputy is preparing paperwork to charge the suspects involved with simple battery. "Once complete, the investigation will be submitted to the state attorney’s office. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A HATE CRIME."
Munshi said students have called his daughter a terrorist before as part of ongoing bullying over her being Muslim.
"She has bruises on her face. One eye is black – neck, had nails, big nails, on her neck, and there are lots of big bumps on her face, her head," Munshi said. "She used to say that they’re making fun of her ... that she's terrorist, kind of thing."
However, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the victim and another student met over an "ongoing dispute."
PBCSO said a West Boca Raton High School student, identified as the victim of the beating, and an Olympic Heights High School student, identified by police as the suspect, met at the South County Park on Thursday at 2 p.m.
PBCSO said the victim was under the impression the two were meeting to "talk."
"The suspect, student from Olympic Heights HS, apparently told the victim she wanted to meet to fight. The victim agreed to meet anyway," PBCSO said. "At NO time was 'race' or 'bullying' ever discussed, determined or considered to have played a role in the altercation. The victim was wearing a shirt that said 'Bulls' XL, which is believed to be a school t-shirt."
A previous Facebook post written by Munshi said his daughter had been repeatedly bullied by a couple of classmates because she was Muslim. The post said the girl decided she wanted to resolve the feud and went to talk to the girls wearing an anti-bullying t-shirt and was instead brutally beaten, according to the post.
Video shows the victim getting kicked to the ground as she holds her hands over her head and face as punching ensues.
The video has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and has more than more than 120,000 views. The motive of the alleged attackers is currently under investigation.
“Nothing at this time indicates a hate crime, it was apparently over a boyfriend,” the West Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said. “Our deputy will be following up with School Board to identify the multiple subjects in the video.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for criminal charges against those responsible, according to Communications Director Wilfredo Ruiz.
"CAIR-Florida receives numerous complaints of school bullying incidents and serious assaults against Muslim youth at a constantly increasing rate," Omar Saleh, CAIR-Florida Civil Rights counsel, said in a statement. "We have reached out to the victim's family and will ensure that this serious issue is addressed swiftly and appropriately by local officials."