DAYTONA BEACH, FL – According to detectives, a 15-year-old boy from Orange City was arrested on an enhanced felony battery charge Friday in Daytona Beach after repeatedly punching a 16-year-old victim in an attack motivated by prejudice against gay people.
The attack was reported Friday morning at a SMA Healthcare residential adolescent treatment facility at 3875 Tiger Bay Road, in Daytona Beach. A surveillance camera captured the incident. The video showed the defendant say something to the victim, who was sitting down, before walking over to him and start punching. The defendant climbed onto the victim and punched him multiple times before the attack was broken up by staff.
The victim explained to a deputy that the defendant continuously calls him by a common slur used against gay people. The victim said the defendant accused him of snitching to the staff about the name calling, then called him by the same slur again and attacked him.
The victim’s injuries included an eye that was swollen partially shut, redness and abrasions to his face and a possible arm injury. His father took him to the hospital for further evaluation.
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The attack was determined to be a hate crime, and the defendant was charged accordingly. He was also charged with violating his probation from a previous arrest for battery. He was transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice to be held in secure detention.
Florida law provides for enhanced charges against a defendant if the commission of a crime “evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, or advanced age of the victim.”
In recent months the Volusia Sheriff’s Office has identified two other cases that involved enhanced charges due to evidence of prejudice: The June 2021 arrest of a 21-year-old man who yelled racial slurs and pointed a gun at a family driving through the DeLand area, and the January 2022 arrest of a 58-year-old man who used racial slurs in an unprovoked attack on an occupied vehicle at an Osteen-area gas station.