Video that shows a mentally handicapped man getting punched in the face by two juveniles is calling on police to bring justice to the situation.
*Update* Philly Police have identified some of the suspects, and are still asking for the public’s help. The teens have also been accused of assaulting a principal. Anyone with info is asked to contact the police, their information is at the bottom of this post.
Police believe that a group of youths who assaulted a mentally challenged man in Germantown last week — a video of which has garnered millions of Facebook views — included teens who were involved in throwing a brick at a school principal last week in the same neighborhood.
Capt. Malachi Jones of Northwest Detectives said the four young men involved in the unprovoked beating of Mark Smith, 38, who works at a Cheltenham ShopRite, were in custody Tuesday afternoon. The youths range in age from 12 to 15, according to Jones, who declined to identify them because they are juveniles. None had yet been charged.
Detectives believe that two of the youths also participated in the brick-throwing attack last Wednesday against Fitler Academics Plus School principal Anthious Boone, Jones said.
Jones called both incidents “senseless” and said those who threw punches or bricks could face counts including aggravated assault, simple assault, and reckless endangerment.
In the assault against Smith, Jones said, a 12-year-old boy threw the first punch, which connected with Smith’s left jaw. Another youth punched Smith a second time after he retreated, according to video of the incident, while two other youths appeared to stand by and laugh. Jones said that two of the youths were brothers.
The 30-second-long, slow-motion video begins with a close-up of the man facing the camera; an “I love Jesus” lanyard can be seen hanging around his neck.
A boy stands in the background of the shot, and suddenly reels back and strikes the man in the left cheek with his fist. As the man looks to escape, another male punches him again.
The video, which was posted Monday and had been viewed more than 2 million times by Tuesday, was shared on Facebook by Gerald Andrews Sr., who said that the man is mentally disabled.
Philadelphia police said Tuesday that the juveniles in the video have been identified and that Northwest Detectives are investigating the incident.
WARNING: The video below contains physical violence and may be disturbing for some readers.
Andrews told Philly.com that the victim’s name is Mark and that he works at a ShopRite supermarket in Cheltenham.
On Tuesday morning, a manager at the ShopRite told PhillyVoice that he was aware of the video but could not comment further.
Andrews Sr. told NBC10 happened last Thursday at Chelten Avenue and Knox Street in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
“Obviously, what is depicted in the video is very disturbing,” Sgt. Eric Gripp told Philly.com.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Northwest Detective Division at (215) 686-3353.
The Philadelphia police did not respond immediately to a request for comment.