The sheriff of Hamilton County, Florida, on Monday told TheBlaze that the state attorney deemed the videotaped beating of a lone student aboard a school bus not a hate crime.
Sheriff Harrell Reid told TheBlaze the state attorney said the headline-grabbing incident "did not rise to the level of a hate crime."
Image source: Twitter video screenshot
The state attorney's office, third circuit — which encompasses Hamilton County — on Monday didn't immediately reply to TheBlaze's message and questions about the incident.
Reid added to TheBlaze that five juvenile attackers were charged with first-degree battery, a misdemeanor, and that they were not confined as part of the charges and are with their families. Reid also said the state attorney would determine the next course of action, if any.
What's the background?
An individual purporting to be the victim's parent posted video of the November attack on Twitter last week and said the 14-year-old boy had been hospitalized because of it.
My attorney @FoyeWalkerPA said it's okay to release the video, 😡warning graphic 😡 keep in mind this is only the fi… https://t.co/xYeskIhqa6— American Diaries (@American Diaries)1576171956.0
The MAGA hat claim
The parent said the attack stemmed from the boy supporting President Donald Trump and for wearing a "Make American Great Again" hat — the iconic symbol Trump's 2016 campaign. Leftists have been caught on numerous occasions reacting violently to MAGA hat wearers, taking off or knocking the caps off their heads, and even stealing them as video rolls.
The school district fires back
But Superintendent Rex L. Mitchell of the Hamilton County School District said in a statement Friday there was "no evidence" the victim was wearing pro-Trump clothing during the attack or that the beating was fueled by the victim wearing it previously. He added that the incident started as an argument between two students that "escalated when additional students became involved."
Mitchell also said in his statement that the "isolated," "unfortunate" incident was "completely unrelated to any political statements or agendas" and that students have been "disciplined" in the aftermath.
More from the parent
The individual purporting to be the victim's parent posted the following after the incident in relation to the MAGA hat element:
From that point on he was steadily getting messed with. He was getting hit, tripped & verbally abused on the bus, b… https://t.co/7OFSzoW9Tn— American Diaries (@American Diaries)1574437646.0