Five teenagers who taunted a drowning man while recording his death from afar may face criminal charges, a Florida police chief said Friday.
Cocoa Police Chief Michael Cantaloupe said Friday he will recommend the state attorney prosecute the teens under a statute that requires a person with knowledge of a death to notify a medical examiner. The state attorney will decide whether to file the charges, which would be a misdemeanor under that statute.
The chief's statement was a shift.
Authorities previously said the teens wouldn't be charged because Florida does not have a law that obligates a citizen to render aid or call for help for anyone in distress.
On Friday, the office of State Attorney Phil Archer issued a statement, though not in response to the chief's comments about recommending charges.
"We were asked to make a preliminary review of the video regarding any potential charges for failure to provide aid," the state attorney's office said. "Unfortunately, there is currently no statute in Florida law that compels an individual to render, request or seek aid for a person in distress. We are, however, continuing to research whether any other statute may apply to the facts of this case."