Image still from the video
Lakeland, Florida (WTSP) – Lakeland, Florida - The Polk County Sheriff's office released the video of a teenage girl who, as Sheriff Grady Judd puts it, was "lured so her friends could beat her."
The video shows what Judd says is the second of five beatings the 16-year-old received from people she knew. The attackers say they were upset with so-called "trash talk" the victim posted on her MySpace page, and they say they wanted to post their own video of the beating on MySpace and YouTube.
The sheriff says the victim was first beaten unconscious in a bedroom. When she awoke, she was on a couch in the living room, where the screaming and beatings continued.
"It is disgusting that the attackers find it funny and want to post something on the Internet showing someone nearly beaten to death," says the victim's mother.
Sheriff Judd is calling it one of the most disturbing videos he has seen in a long time and he hopes all those arrested will be tried as adults. They face charges ranging from felony battery, false imprisonment to kidnapping. The sheriff says the attackers "were relentless."
Even though those involved could face prison time, Judd says the teens showed no remorse after their arrests.
"When they were in a holding cell, they were all laughing," Judd says. "One of the teens arrested, who is a cheerleader, asked, 'Does this mean I'm going to miss cheerleading practice tomorrow?' The others were cutting up and said, 'It looks like we won't be going to the beach this weekend.'"
While the attackers can laugh off the incident, the victim's mother certainly can't.
"You never think it will happen to your family," she says. "To have this happen and see it... is hard to bear."
Click here to read a statement released by the Polk County Sheriff's Office. (PDF)