A physically disabled teenage boy was kicked outside a Target store in Crystal over the weekend in an apparent “unprovoked attack” that was video-recorded by one of three young accomplices and viewed on Facebook several million times, authorities said Monday.
The assault of the 14-year-old occurred at 11:30 a.m. Saturday outside the store on West Broadway just south of Bass Lake Road, police said.
Deputy Police Chief Doug Leslin issued a statement saying his department “is currently investigating what appears to be an unprovoked attack of a young male with a physical disability.”
The victim and the suspects were known to each other, Leslin’s statement continued.
Leslin said police were called about the incident by the boy’s mother a day after the assault when a relative showed her the video. Police are withholding the mother’s identity to protect that of the child.
Police have identified four boys involved in the incident and arrested one, a 16-year-old from Columbia Heights, who was booked on suspicion of felony third-degree riot and gross-misdemeanor fifth-degree assault. The other three suspects are still being interviewed by police.
Since the 110-second video went up on the Facebook page of one of the suspects, it had been viewed more than 5 million times, including by police. By late Monday morning, however, the video’s posting was deleted.
“Look, that’s my fight walk,” the most aggressive of the suspects said in the video.
The accomplices approached the victim as he leaned against an exterior wall of the store with headphones on, looking at his cellphone. They were accusing the teen of trash-talking someone.
“I don’t know you,” he replied to one suspect as the confrontation continued. While trying to ignore the suspects, one of them slapped the teen in the face.
After a few seconds passed, the teen turned away from his pursuers and walked with an awkward gait toward the Target entrance. That’s when the suspect who slapped the teen kicked the boy in the small of the back.
The kick sent the victim down in a heap near the door, where he banged his face. The suspects were heard laughing as they fled the scene.
According to a police report, several other people called police upon seeing the video. An officer interviewed the victim, who said he wasn’t injured from the assault, and that he knew some of the suspects but not others.