Police charge teenager with assault after 'Syrian refugee' bullying video goes viral
A 16-year-old boy is to be charged with assault over an attack on a 15-year-old Syrian refugee at a school in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire Police have said.
A shocking video of the incident shows the victim, with his arm in a cast, is seen to be dragged to the floor by his neck before his attacker says ‘I’ll drown you’ while forcing water from a bottle into the victim’s mouth.
The boy has been identified as a Syrian refugee named Jamal.
In statement West Yorkshire Police said: ‘Regarding the assault on a 15-year-old youth in Almondbury, which featured in a video posted on social media yesterday and has been widely reported in the media, a 16-year-old youth has been interviewed and reported for summons, for an offence of assault. He will appear at Youth Court in due course.
‘The incident occurred on 25 October this year and has been subject to thorough investigation since it was reported to us the day after. The victim and his family are receiving ongoing support from police and other agencies.’
The force added: ‘Safeguarding measures have been put in place for the victim and his family.
‘A previous unconnected incident on 7 October, in which the victim suffered a wrist injury, was also fully investigated at the time. Three youths were interviewed. There was no further police action and the matter was referred to the school.’
According to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for Jamal, his younger sister has also been a victim of bullying and tried to cut her wrists in the school toilet as a result.
Mohammed Tahir, who set up the fundraiser, said: ‘Jamal’s family are refugees in the UK and they struggle to meet the basic necessities of life.
‘We want to raise money for the family to ease their situation and hopefully they can use the funds to help improve their quality of life and to put a smile on their faces.
‘Having left a war torn country, the least they deserve is to live in peace without being harassed.’
Mr Tahir, whose campaign has raised more than £40,000 at the time of publication, said that he had spoken to Jamal and that he and his family are ‘doing well’.
He said: ‘After seeing the video of Jamal being bullied I had an idea of setting up a Go Fund Me page for Jamal and his family.
‘I’m overwhelmed by the support that we’ve received and I can’t thank everyone enough for the generous donations they have made.
‘I am working alongside GoFundMe so we can make sure every last penny gets to the family and I want to thank them for their support.’
Video of assault against one of my constituents absolutely shocking. Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention. Understand from council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given!
— Barry Sheerman (@BarrySheerman) November 27, 2018
The incident is said to have taken place on playing fields at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield on October 25.
Barry Sheerman, MP for the town, said he had been supporting the boy and his family.
He tweeted: ‘Video of assault against one of my constituents absolutely shocking.
MORE: Sex worker jailed for six years after starting a fire that killed hotel manager one day from retirement
MORE: Jeremy Corbyn ‘ready to finally back second Brexit referendum’ if Theresa May’s deal fails Commons vote
‘Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention.
‘Understand from council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given!’
Superintendent Steve Dodds, of West Yorkshire Police Kirklees District, said: ‘We are investigating a report of a racially-aggravated assault of a 15-year-old boy which occurred on playing fields at Almondbury Community School at about 1pm on October 25.
A police investigation is underway into the video from a local school. Neither us nor the school condone violence in any form and behaviour like this will not be tolerated
— Kirklees Council (@KirkleesCouncil) November 27, 2018
‘A 16-year-old boy has been interviewed by voluntary attendance in connection with the incident and we are continuing to progress the investigation.’
According to The Sun, the alleged bully’s social media page airs his support for far right group Britain First.
Kirklees Council said: ‘Neither us nor the school condone violence in any form and behaviour like this will not be tolerated.’