Teens recording, mocking drowning man wouldn't face legal repercussions in La.

The video is drawing outrage across the nation, but locally, there aren't any laws against it.

Horrifying video out of Brevard County, Florida captures a 31-year-old disabled man's dying moments while a group of teenagers mocks him as they record his death.

The minute-log video is drawing outrage from across the country, but in many states, there's nothing illegal about what they did.

The man drowned in a retention pond on July 9, as a group of teens, ages 14 to 16, laughed, mocked and screamed at him off-camera. Police say 5 teens were at the park smoking marijuana and apparently saw the man walk into the water then started shooting cellphone video.

"Get out of the water, you're going to die. We're not going to help your (expletive). You shouldn't have gotten in," one teen shouted.

Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts took to Twitter to express his disgust.

"There are a lot of good people who do the right thing, but for anybody, any human to sit there and watch someone else simply drown and really do nothing about it, that's just entirely inhuman," Roberts said.

Roberts added, "What bothers me and I think what bothers most people, in some cases people are more interested in videoing a situation where someone needs help to post on social media then they are to try and render the aid or help."

There are no laws in Louisiana or in most other states, requiring people to give or call for help when someone's in distress.

Councilman Chris Roberts thinks there should be.

"If that what it takes in order to get people to do the right thing, then I think that's something we need to consider," Roberts said.

Senator J.P.  Morrell, D-Louisiana predicts a mandatory Good Samaritan law would be fraught with legal challenges.

But, he says the state should penalize those who distribute these types of disturbing videos.

"The moment you tape a horrific incident, the moment you post it to social media, that could be a crime in itself," Morrell said. "That's probably what the legislature will probably do with that."

Morrell said lawmakers could consider the matter as early as next year.

"If you are using social media to promote yourself by horrific circumstances, in Louisiana with regards to revenge porn that's a crime," Morrell said. "This easily falls into this definition."

Meanwhile, authorities in Florida are now pursuing possible misdemeanor charges against the teens for failing to report a death.

Dr. Martin Drell, LSU Health Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Professor, believes a confluence of factors led to the teens' behavior.

"Whatever alcohol, drugs, plus a group phenomenon, plus whatever is going on in their lives, it's hard to tell which of these variables, but something went terribly wrong and there's a gentleman dead," Drell said.

Dr. Drell also maintains the fact the teens were recording the drowning for social media also may have played a role.

"It does distance you from the reality of the situation," Drell said. "The reality is the picture, the videos aren't reality."

© 2017 WWL-TV


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