Cops: Teens May Be Charged for Laughing as Man Drowned

Florida law makes it a misdemeanor to not report someone has died
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2017 5:18 PM CDT
Updated Jul 21, 2017 6:00 PM CDT
Cops: Teens May Be Charged for Laughing as Man Drowned
Jamel Dunn drowned July 9 in Florida while five teens allegedly filmed him and laughed.   (Brevard County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Despite reports Thursday that they wouldn't be charged with a crime, the five teens who allegedly laughed and filmed a man as he drowned in Florida earlier this month could now face misdemeanor charges. ABC News reports police have recommended charges for "duty to report" against the unnamed teens, who range in age from 14 to 16. News 13 explains that while Florida doesn't have a law requiring bystanders to report someone dying, it does have a law that requires people to report someone has died. Jamel Dunn, 31, drowned earlier this month.

Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe says it's the first time the law would be used in this manner, and the teens would serve as a "test case." News 13 reports the statute is most typically applied to medical examiners. The State Attorney's Office worked with police to come up with the charges, but the office will determine whether to prosecute the case. Cantaloupe previously called the teens' actions "utterly inhumane and cruel." (More Florida stories.)

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