A video by the Baltimore Police Department circulating on social media shows three teenagers hitting, beating, kicking and stomping the head of an elderly Muslim man in religious clothing.
The video, released by Baltimore police on Friday, shows the 50-second interaction where three teenagers repeatedly attacking the man, even after he’s seen trying to get up. According to Baltimore police, two of the teens are boys, and one is a girl.
According to the date on the video, the incident took place on Wednesday around 6am.
At the beginning of the video, the man is seen walking with one of the assailants behind him. He then turns around for a few seconds and appears to be speaking to the teen. The video doesn’t have audio.
The other two teens come from different directions on scooters, surrounding the man as he continues to walk.
The teen he was seen speaking with suddenly hits his head violently from the back, tossing his cap off as the man falls on the ground.
As he tries to sit back up, the teen kicks him on his chest while the other two watch and then walk closer.
As the man tries to stand back up, the first teen runs and kicks him on his shoulder. The victim stumbles and falls on his back. The teen runs to him and kicks his head before repeatedly stomping his head on the ground.
The teen is then seen going through the man’s clothing, seemingly looking for something, while the other two teens continue watching. The three then run away, one of them leaving their scooter behind.
According to Baltimore police, the man is a 59-year-old civil employee of the department. The department said in its YouTube and Facebook posts that it’s investigating the robbery and that the assailants are believed to have stolen the victim’s vehicle.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging Baltimore police to not rule out bias-motivated crime.
Zainab Chaudry, CAIR’s Director of Maryland Outreach, told the Daily Dot that the victim has been released from the hospital after being treated for his injuries.
“However, the road to recovery is obviously going to be long and painful,” Chaudry said over the phone, “not just from the physical injuries but also the psychological impact of this nature of assault.”
“It’s time to take back our streets. CAIR condemns this horrific incident in the strongest terms possible,” Chaudry said in a statement earlier.
The FBI has offered a $5,000 reward for the identity of the teenagers. Baltimore police said on Twitter late on Thursday evening that they are working with ATF, the FBI, and Metro Crime Stoppers and collectively offering $32,000 for information on the attackers.
Chaudry told the Daily Dot that it’s crucial the department calls for transformative justice instead of criminalizing the teenagers.
“We want to emphasize the fact that we want our focus to be on restorative and transformative justice, not on criminalizing and incarcerating the suspects,” she said. “Because, as a society, we need to do a better job of addressing these kind of crimes and violence in our communities, and when young people engage in these kinds of brutal attacks, often times they themselves are also victims of broken systems, of biased policies, of structural racism that contributes to this vicious cycle of violence.”
CAIR is also offering $1,000 to anyone with information. A Jewish congregation at a synagogue close to the crime location has also offered an additional $1,000 for information on the suspects, Chaudry told the Daily Dot.
Many on social media pointed out that the suspects were driving Lime electronic scooters, which keep electronic records of users, and that investigators could track down the teens through that.
The Baltimore Police Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comments.
— Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards.