Episode 16: 5 Teens Taunt And Film Disabled Man Drowning (2017)
2:00PM Jan 18, 2023
Welcome to Just curious media. This is that's a crime. I'm Jason Connell.
And I'm Sal Rodriguez.
All right sound we are back for another crime.
Yeah. Are we gonna find out if this is? It's not a murder? No, but is it a misdemeanor?
Somewhere in between? So
yeah, I want to know where this is headed because this is tragic and weird. And also also one of those signs of the times.
Yeah, good point. And today we are breaking down the True Crime Story of the five teens taunt and film disabled man drowning from 2017. Just the title sow tragic.
Yeah. Yeah. And callous. callous is that word? I don't use that word much. Yeah. callous? Yeah, just just cold, you know?
Absolutely. So let's break it down. There's so many talking points here, Sal, because as you said, it absolutely is a sign of the times. Yeah. It's four years old, but still very relevant and unfortunate. This era. Right. So on July 9 2017 31 year old disabled ex con Jamel Dunn had an argument with his fiancee and entered the pond at brocco pond Park in cocoa Florida, which is about 45 miles outside of Orlando. Yeah, so now Police stated they're unclear of his intentions, but the park does indeed have no swimming warning signs posted due to the area's alligator population
you know as a West coaster as a California I've heard so much about I mean are there literally just alligators walking all over the place? Is that what it's like down there? I've been
to Florida many times and I've definitely seen some alligators not everywhere but I see them and if I see a sign that it says don't swim here because these guys are out here Yeah, I am swimming in there but this story is not that it's not an alligator attack no mind you But hang your signs up does have you
literally seen alligators walking like walking freely? Well, no
by the water not just down the street but absolutely seeing them. Okay, near the waters. I got an air water. Yeah, they go in and out. They sunbathe, what have you. But this bad situation here. Horrible. We don't know what Jamal was seen or doing. But we do know that he passed away. He was distraught. had an argument. He goes into the water water. You shouldn't be in Sao. Yeah. And that's the last we see HIPAA, which is tragic. And its own right. Like that's a tragic tale. Sure, but it gets much much worse.
Yeah. Because obviously he's maybe having some mental health issues. Yeah, he's disabled. Maybe schizophrenia. I mean, this is odd behavior, right? I mean, if I get in the fight with my girlfriend, I'm not gonna go jump in some pond. That's very strange.
It is strange. It's strange behavior. But sometimes you want to cool off, you know, literally. Well, shortly after entering the water five nearby teenagers began filming done as he became distressed because Sal, there is a video. Yeah, I saw the video. You saw the video? Yeah, it's grainy. It's hard to see. But he is having a hard time or struggling swimming. So this begins to happen as these teenagers see it happen. And they're filming the situation. Yeah. So far. Not bad, right? You don't know they're filming it, figuring out what's going on. But that's not the case.
No, I mean, filming something is not again, the era that we're living in, right. We're all walking around with cameras in our pocket, you know? So filming something is not inherently good or bad. It just is. Yeah, but what else is happening? Are you just filming? Or are you calling the authorities? Are you trying to help? Are you thrown a life preserver? What are you doing besides just filming?
Well, this is where the story gets very disturbing. And the group whose names were not released, ranged in ages between 14 and 18 years old. They began videotaping done as he struggled to stay afloat, but they started taunting him. Not helping, like you said not calling the authorities but taunting and go ahead and say some of the things that we pulled from the video.
Yeah, some of the quotes from these kids. Get out of the water, you're gonna die. You're a blank, expletive junkie. You're a blank junkie. Anybody fixing to help you? You dumb blank? You should have never got in there. So they're what's the word is a chatting? Chatting is that a word?
Mocking talking? Yeah. I mean, you could say warning, but really, it's not like hey, you know you're not it's not an SOS this is yeah. They're not even concerned about his safety. They're having a good time.
Yeah, they're not trying to help in any way. No. I mean, one of them didn't run to go get help. Nobody did anything. Now to try to get any help for this situation. And that's, you know, there's something called the Good Samaritan Law. I don't know if you know this, Jason, if I've ever shared this with you. You but I have hosted two safety videos. Wow. For a company called EMS safety services of San Diego. They are officially CPR first aid videos. But we talked about something called the Good Samaritan Law. And the Good Samaritan Law I thought was federal but it could differ state to state. And the law is if somebody's in trouble, their life is in danger. And I try to help them in any way and something goes wrong or they end up dying, or I try to do CPR doesn't work or whatever. I cannot be held liable. I am not legally liable for something that goes wrong when I am trying to help.
Yeah, makes sense. And I've definitely heard of that before. But thanks for breaking that down.
Yeah, the Good Samaritan Law, but it may differ from state to state. You know, I've done these videos in California that I thought they were nationwide. But again, it may differ state to state. I don't know what the Good Samaritan Law if it applies in the state of Florida or internationally.
Well, this is the opposite of that.
Yeah, this is not trying to help, but trying to hurt. Yeah, yeah. It's
in some way. Well, as they continue to record, you hear them laughing. And there's even a mention of a blunt. So sound. Can you describe exactly what that means?
Well, a blunt in the traditional sense. am I dating myself in the traditional sense of blunt is, when you get a cigar, you split it open, you take out the tobacco and you fill it with marijuana, or weed. So you roll that back up blunts, were made popular by Cypress Hill, I would say Cypress Hill. We're most known for discussing Bloods. So that's what they are. Snoop Dogg. Oh, and Snoop Dogg. Yep, absolutely.
So they may have been hanging out having a blonde yeah, having a good time. Here's this guy goes in the water fully clothed, and they're just heckling him and having a good time. But they know what's happening. They see him going under bobbing, struggling, probably screaming. I mean, the video is hard to watch. So I was just in awe and it hurt my heart deeply to know that no one's going to help that guy and he's on his last few moments of life. It's really very tragic. And as it continues, and you see Jamel Dunn go underwater for the last time and essentially drown. Yeah. And then one finally says
he just died.
Yeah. And then they move right on. While video is about two and a half minutes. And you know what, maybe it's better. It's hard to see because it's very, very hard to stomach. Yeah, Sal, it's probably one of the most disgusting and, you know, just heinous things I've ever seen.
You know what, Jason going back to a sign of the times and representative of our current era. You know, when I was a kid, there was a videotape that you had to somehow get your hands on, called Faces of death.
Oh, my gosh, I washed my face. Yes, I did. Okay, hard to watch, but hard to look away. And you
had to somehow get this. Maybe you knew an older kid, some sort of bootleg or something. You had to somehow get your hands on this video. But that was your only opportunity to see horrible tragedies like this. Yeah. And now today, there is absolutely no shortage of horrific things, with bystanders standing by and not only doing nothing but teasing, taunting, filming, hoping to go viral. But doing absolutely nothing to help a person in distress.
Yeah. So now I can understand so these kids are on looking they're having a blocked out a good time. I could understand someone not wanting to go into alligator waters to save someone. Yeah, who they don't know I get it. I even me, I'd be like, I don't know about these waters. Sure. But the tendency would then be to call someone a rescuer. 911 Anything that could help. But it's disturbing to find out that they not only didn't do that, then they taunted him. Right. Then they filmed his death, as you just mentioned, and they didn't call the police during the incident, or even afterwards,
then that's where you get into the callousness. Yeah, the coldness where life and death has no meaning really.
No, and I say afterwards. I mean, literally, they didn't send this out. They didn't tell anybody that as far as we know, it didn't surface until weeks later. This video, meanwhile, done wasn't reported missing until July 12, which is three days after he drowned and authorities then recovered his body on July 14, when a passerby reported a body floating in the pond. So same place, passed away comes to the surface, someone finally reports and five days later, meanwhile, Sal his family's distraught no one knows where he is. These kids know and whoever they shared the video with. I'm sure it didn't stay within the five, but I don't know how the video may Get it to the police. And we'll talk about the police in a minute. Somehow it did. Someone probably told someone, hey, they got that on videotape. And then they found out but it was far too late to help and even bring some closure to the family. If you're not going to help someone, and then just like, oh, well brush it off and go about your way. I just, I don't even understand.
No, I may have not jumped in waters that I thought alligators were in. I may not have done that. But I would be yelling for someone to come help. I would be on the phone calling, calling for help. Yeah, I would be trying to do something. Not only do nothing, but I think create a sort of an antagonistic environment for a person who's literally dying in front of you.
Exactly. And with five of you, you could probably go in and create enough noise gators aren't looking to go attack people. They're actually scared of people. Yeah. So you could go in with a, you know, a group and probably overcome any situation. But this was not what was happening. So with all that said, saw the horrendous incident. You know, now that you know what it is, you would think there would be criminal charges in some way against these teams. Right?
Well, there is a law. I know this is aside from the Good Samaritan Law where where you can help someone without liability. There is some law and I don't know how it differs state to state. If you witness a crime, and you know it's a crime and you don't report it, there is a law against that you have to report a crime officially, like if I were to see somebody kill somebody, and I don't say anything. That's a crime. Exactly. Again, deferring state to state who knows what it's like a Florida.
Yeah. Well, Coco Police Chief Mike cantaloupes said the Department learned of the recording several weeks after the drowning and identified and interviewed the five teens. He then added, please go ahead.
There are no words to describe how utterly inhumane and cruel the actions of these juveniles work towards Mr. Dunn. But as horrible as this video is, the laws in the state of Florida do not obligate citizens to render aid or call someone to render aid to a person in distress. When we initially reviewed this case, it was determined, there were no laws broken as the teens were not directly involved with the death. Further research of the statutes and consultation with the State Attorney's Office yielded the decision to move forward with charges under Florida Statute. 406 point 12. It's our belief that this law has never been enforced in a scenario like this. But we feel it could be applicable.
Wow. Interesting. So yeah, Florida laws very different. And I like what he had to say here. Obviously he holds these teens accountable wants to but it really depends on the statute. Yeah. And so for the record statute, 406 point 12 states, it is the duty of every person in the district where a death occurs, who becomes aware of the death of any person occurring, must report such death and circumstances to the district Medical Examiner? Interesting, not the police, but to the district medical examiner is still right there. You have to do it. It's part of the rule. The statute states, you must report this. So Solid appears that they can't be punished for not helping done, but rather they should be punished for not sharing the fact that drowned.
Yeah. Yeah. So witnessing the death, you can not just witness the death and go on with yourself. You need to do something about it. Right. And if anything, there's so much to be said for being a juvenile versus an adult, right? Yes. So had this exact situation happened with five adults filming? Yeah, the circumstances are different. The court views that is different. So if anything, all these juveniles would have just gotten a slap on the wrist one way or another.
And again, back to my point, there are people searching for done. Yes, family, which includes his two daughters. They're distressed, they don't know where he is, you know, then people are searching for him. People can get hurt searching for him. You know, it's like, meanwhile, the whole time, these five teens knew exactly what happened, what had occurred. It's a tragedy in itself. The fact that yeah, we know what happened to him, but we just didn't know what to do. It's really, really tough. It's hard to even understand that. Two people maybe or one person terrified two people. Let's keep it a secret. You start to grow that to five. It's amazing. That five kept quiet.
I would imagine Jason that within their circle. Yeah, there was probably one or two of them that said I'm gonna go tell man, and they're better not tell. I bet you some of that went on. I'm going to tell no, you better not tell. I'm going to tell No, you shouldn't. I bet you that went on there.
And then if it's five, you got to figure immediately in a week. 10 People know Oh, yeah, it just probably grew and then one kids got the video was a video passed around lots of places. And that's like, we didn't do nothing wrong. You know, we just filmed this thing. So that's probably how the police got wind of Someone finally said, You got to report this. You know what happened to this guy? So well, despite police chief cantaloupes efforts, it appears in the end of the teenagers. We're not charged with a misdemeanor of any kind. And Sal, that's a crime
yet is because we don't actually have charges where there were no arrests,
no arrests that we know of. Yeah.
Again, a different state to state I think, I think what what we've learned all of us have learned over the last few years is that what Florida laws about liability responsibility, you know, kind of go to the wayside sometimes. And Florida is used as this poster child for these types of things. I mean, something like this happening in another state. I think we would go Oh, really? That happened in Nebraska, you know? Yeah. But that happened in Florida. We go, Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, Florida.
I know it's true. Well, the mayor did have to say something about this. Coco Mayor Henry Paris, the third released a statement. And why don't you take it away.
In a case like this, we struggled to understand how anyone could be so cold and heartless, and then learn that there are no laws in Florida that obligates someone to render aid or call for someone to render aid for a person they see in distress. If this case can be used as an example, to draft new legislation, that I am committed to move forward to make that happen. More so made this tragic incident, which has shocked all of us, cause each of us to examine ourselves and our responsibility to one another. Well, yeah,
it's well set. Yeah, the compassion comes through. And yes, we'd love to see, I would personally new legislation holding people accountable in this instance, no, maybe you shouldn't be held accountable if you don't become a good Samaritan. Right? It's just too much for you. I get that. But your duty should be to call the authorities.
Yeah, yeah. You can't just do nothing. I mean, look, okay, I'm CPR certified. I've been CPR certified for years how I've taught to CPR videos. But guess what, during COVID You're like, what if I had to render CPR to somebody in the midst of a pandemic, you know, any person who's CPR certified would even think that like, wow, what am I going to do? You know, right. So, yeah, this is a one of those situations where nobody really expects people to be a hero. Nobody expects people to jump into alligator waters to run onto the crowded freeway. Nobody necessarily expects anybody to do that. But to do nothing and to mock and to taunt, and to then not tell anybody that you witnessed the death. Yeah, this is next level. This is next level. heartlessness.
Yeah. And even just, just saving someone from drowning cell is dangerous in its own self. Oh, yeah. drowning victims want to pull down their rescuers. So if you're not a skilled swimmer, you could get yourself in trouble right away, just like, Yeah, I think I can help them. So I get it, the moment might be too big for some, but you have a phone in your hand. Sure. Even if you call the authorities, and it's too late, you're attempting to help. It's not your fault that this is happening. But it's your fault for not sharing what happened. And not that I want to see these kids be put away. But I sure want to see them, I would hope they would learn a lesson or use this as an example. You know, if nothing else, just to bring attention to it. Right? Yeah. So even if it was a misdemeanor, even if they were held accountable, what would that have been a small fine,
or maybe Jason, like some sort of courses or classes? Right? I, I have never received a DUI, thankfully, knock on wood. And I don't make it a point to drive drunk. But my point is, if you are caught drunk driving, not only do you get arrested, and you got to pay fines and all that, but they send you the classes, you got to go to 12 step meetings, you got to go to what's called a diversion program, which is sort of like a group counseling that kind of partners with the 12 stem. So in other words, it's sort of a rehab, if you will, hey, you screwed up. But we're going to train you we're going to teach you. So in a situation like this, if there's no charges pressed fine. But should these kids have to go to some sort of classes to talk about, you know, humanity to talk about, you know, being a decent citizen? Absolutely. I think that there should be something for people like this kids like this. And not necessarily an arrest, not necessarily a nation, but as something to teach them to guide them because I'm assuming these kids don't have the proper guidance. Right. So that's where then the state has to come in and give them some sort of guidance.
Yeah. And I was thinking of the old Scared Straight thing. But then you have them there. And you're right, put them in a class these kids need to learn compassion. Yeah. Yeah. Empathy, empathy, like, you know what, that was one of you guys out there. And someone else film that and just put them through that. And you're absolutely right. They probably don't have that around them. I hope that they learn from this and I don't know what's going on with the legislation after this incident and what came up Mayor Paris third's efforts, let's help something. But you're right. It does vary state to state. But listen, just the golden rule in life. Do unto others as you want done to yourself, help others in those situations. If you can't be a hero, call the authorities are usually somebody will step up and try to save someone.
Yeah, you know what, you know, in our defense, Jason, I want to say in our defense for our era, and for our people of today, for every video like this, there are videos of people help apps, there are videos of people reaching out, lending a hand, at the very least calling for help, trying to organize others for help. So there are those people out there there are the warm hearted people who want to at least do something so they can sleep well at night. Yes. So believe me, I'm not one of these people sitting around here going, Oh, these are all these kids today. Believe me, these are some kids. This is an example of some of the attitudes today. But I don't believe all I do believe there are good people out there who will at least do something. If I'm out there struggling. I hope that people at least if they can't help me try to call someone who can help me.
Absolutely. And what gets lost in this whole thing of our discussion about these teens is really the tragic loss of Jamel done. Yeah, yeah, far too young. There's a loss at the team's fault. But I really have so much sorrow and empathy for Jamel and his family. And you know, so I just I really wish that as we watched that video, we did see one of those heroes come in, and the kids just oversaw it. And someone just scooped him up and got him to safety. But it didn't happen. And it doesn't always happen in life and was really tragic situation. And I feel like it's important story to cover. It's very different. We cover a wide range on this show from misdemeanors to murders. And although this didn't lead to a crime, it is a crime. And it was worth discussing. Yeah.
No, I think it's good. And I think it should have all of us think and everybody should be aware, you know, one thing I learned after teaching those safety courses, but what would I do? What would I do in the event of an emergency? All of us have to ask ourselves that, you know, oh, yeah, what would I do it you know, if it's a stranger you see as his car accident, we all have to be prepared. The name of that video series I did was prepare, practice perform. So we all have to be prepared. We got to put things in practice, and we got to perform with it. So yeah, all of us should, at the very least whip out the phone call 911 Yell for somebody try to get somebody to help. We are not helpless in trying to get help.
I agree. That's all I got anything else. Rest in peace, Jamal. Yes, rest in peace. So thank you so much for listening. And please be sure to subscribe to that's a crime wherever you get your podcast. You can also really help us by giving the show a five star rating on Apple podcast.
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