Video footage from outside a North Carolina mall depicting a group-altercation involving a 51-year-old man and several preteen girls has resulted in the man facing charges for assault of more than one of the young girls.
David Steven Bell and his family were at the Asheville Mall together when the man reportedly noticed a woman who appeared to be having trouble with a group of youths. Bell notified the employees of the store he was in to alert them of the situation, and they called security to the location.
After Bell allegedly helped the woman leave the mall the group of children reportedly formed a circle around him outside the building.
Someone began to record the incident and in a video clip that runs for just over half a minute, it showed a small portion of the event as it took place.
The 250-pound Bell can be seen standing in the middle of what appears to be quite a few young women as they kept him from leaving the human barrier they had formed and reportedly made threatening comments toward him.
A few seconds into the video, Bell is shown lurching forward as if he had been pushed from behind immediately prior to a young girl coming toward the 6’5” man in what he reportedly viewed as an aggressive action. Bell then shoved the child away from him causing her to stumble and fall to the ground.
The girl, age 11, can be seen standing up and rushing toward Bell with much more force than the first time and he responded by punching her in the face. The girl was reportedly knocked out from the blow and she was shown laying on the ground before the video ends.
None of the people involved in the situation asked for medical treatment, and Bell was taken into custody for one count of misdemeanor assault on a child under 12.
Following his arrest two other young women, both age 13, went to the Magistrate and alleged that they were also struck by Bell during the incident, resulting in him facing two additional charges of misdemeanor assault. He was released from incarceration early the next morning.
When the footage was released online it caused an uproar from the general public regarding what they witnessed. Some people believe that Bell had good cause to react the way he was shown, and others disagreed and felt he should have known better.
Bell’s attorney gave a statement regarding the allegations against his client and made it aware that the man has been in ongoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma to his brain for some time now. He believes that the event took place due to Bell having a reaction to his “perceived threat from a large pack of youth who had trapped and surrounded him.” He further stated that Bell said he is remorseful that the incident happened the way that it did and he didn’t mean to act out physically.
If Bell is found guilty of the charges he could face a sentence of up to five months in jail, but due to the fact that he reportedly does not have any prior incidents with the law, it is purported that he would not likely face the maximum penalty if convicted.
If you or someone you love is suspected of assault, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.