MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Criminal charges against a Christopher Columbus High School student have been dropped, just two weeks after the teenager was accused of making an online threat through a video posted to an App.
The student, who is not being identified by CBS4, was arrested September 12 for an offensive homemade music video that some found to be threatening.
In the video, the teen is lip-syncing to a rap song. As the sounds of gunshots go off on the track, the student makes gun gestures and eliminates graphics with names of high schools in the area, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. The student made the video on the social media app TikTok and shared it online.
“We are very pleased,” said the teen’s father about the state’s decision not to prosecute.
“This was a child, a teenager doing a really dumb, immature and irresponsible Music video.”
“This is a message how dangerous social media is. These kids think they live in a vacuum and can do the same thing other kids are doing.”
“I think it’s great. He’s only 16 and this could affect his future especially college,” said senior Gabriel García.
The 16-year-old was originally charged with posting a “written threat to kill or do bodily injury.” However, prosecutors found “motioning with his hand and appearing to shoot a firearm at the name of the school while dancing to a rap song does not constitute a credible threat to kill or do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting at the schools,” according to the close out memo from State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Additionally, the City of Miami Police did not believe the respondent’s threat to be credible”
So why did he do it?
According to the close out memo, the student stated, “He made the video because of the “Don’t Judge Me” challenge which is a type of selfie video fad. The respondent additionally said the 3 schools that were in the video (La Salle, Belen and Stoneman Douglas) are rival schools in sports with his school, Columbus.”
According To Florida Statute 836.10, “Any person who makes, posts, or transmits a threat in a writing or other record, including an electronic record, to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, in any manner that would allow another person to view the threat, commits a felony of the second degree.”
The memo states, “While the State of Florida finds the respondent’s behavior to be reprehensible especially in light of the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy, there remains the inability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Florida Statue 836.10 was violated. It is only subject to speculation whether the respondent’s threat was credible to kill or do bodily harm or conduct a mass shooting at any of the schools that appeared in the video.”
The student also underwent a psychological evaluation. The evaluation, performed by Dr. Merry Sue Haber, found he had “no history of major mental illness, substance abuse, violence or psychopathy. Rather he is a socially inept teenager who is showing typical signs of teens with impulsive, self-centered behavior, peer related behavior with little thought as to the consequences of his actions. All psychological tests indicate that he has no malevolence or harmful intent.”
Dr. Haber wrote in her report that the teen is “deeply remorseful and ashamed of his behavior.” She described his family as supportive and loving. They have removed his social media accounts, his phone and intend to home school him due to the negative publicity.
The teen’s father said he is getting behind the state’s “It’s no joke” campaign, which warns students about the dangers of making school threats.
“We are going to make sure something positive comes out of this,” said the teen’s dad.