UPDATE: Bangor Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Jason McAmbley said in an email that assault charges were filed against the attacker in the video. “It is still an active case,” he said. McAmbley declined to say whether the attack was being treated as a hate crime or a bias incident.
A Bangor High School student was violently attacked on school property while dozens of students and several school staff watched helplessly.
The entire assault was caught on a shocking video that has only recently been released on social media by a concerned parent.
In the video, the attacker, who is black, punches the victim, who is white, several times in what appears to be an unprovoked assault, though it’s not clear what happened before the video recording begins.
The victim had at least one of his hands in his pocket at the start of the disturbing attack.
“Friends, can we please stop,” shouts a teacher, after the assault began. “Stop, friends, I need help over here. Stop punching him,” she shouts.
The attacker manages to take the fight to the ground where he quickly takes the victim’s back. He punches the victim 19 times in the back of the head as two adult men watch.
The adult bystanders could not immediately be identified.
The attacker then moves into a guillotine-style choke, at one point lifting the victim off the ground, in a move that could have been lethal.
The two large adult men continue watching the brawling pair, urging them to stop, but they appear unwilling or unable to physically end the assault.
When the pair are separated, the attacker gets one more shot across the victim’s jaw.
The attacker lands a total of 25 punches with no physical intervention from any of the adult onlookers, a potentially lethal barrage had he been larger or stronger.
“What n****a — let go of my f***in leg n****a,” the attacker screams.
“Jesus Christ, you two,” says the female teacher. “Let go of him.”
Dozens of students seated in the hallways seem nonplussed and unalarmed, as if this kind of street brawl happens all the time.
A Bangor School official said he had seen the video and told The Maine Wire the brutal beatdown occurred on Monday, Oct. 17.
It’s not clear from the video what prompted the attack or whether race played a role.
School officials declined to identify either of the students involved in the altercation because they are minors, but they did confirm that — to the best of school’s knowledge — both students are males.
The shocking video was posted to social media on Dec. 6 by a user who condemned the adult bystanders to the horrifying violence.
“Since when do we ‘suggest’ to aggressors that they stop assaulting our children?” he wrote.
The Maine Wire has asked Bangor High School for an official statement regarding the attacking, including whether they contacted the Bangor Police Department, whether they believe the school staff handled the situation appropriately, and whether they investigated this as a hate crime or bias incident.
Although the school has not responded to an inquiry about their policies for intervening in student-on-student violence, the Maine Legislature passed L.D. 1373, which became law without Gov. Janet Mills signature on July 13, 2021.
The bill — “An Act To Keep All Maine Students Safe by Restricting the Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools” — created a new set of rules for how teachers and school staff are supposed to handle situations in which one student is causing harm to another student.
According to the new law, teachers or staff may use “physical restraint” only if one student’s actions pose an “imminent danger of serious physical injury” to another student and “less restrictive interventions would be ineffective in stopping imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or another person.”
In instances where physical restraint is justified, it must end “immediately upon the cessation of imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or another person.”
Lastly, but importantly, a teacher or staffer, like the men in the video above, must use “the least amount of force necessary … to protect the student or another person from imminent danger of serious physical injury.”
In other words, the teacher seen in the video putting his hand in the way of the attacker as he pummeled the other student in the back of the head might have been following Maine law.
The law requires him to use the least amount of force necessary will simultaneously making judgements as to whether the victim is sustaining “serious” harm.
UPDATE: The Bangor School Department’s Director of Community Outreach and Safety Ray Phinney issued the following statement, which we include in full: