Early this year, Face2Face Africa reported a story of a 51-year old white man who was filmed severely punching an under 12-year old black girl during an altercation at the Asheville Mall in North Carolina.
The perpetrator, David Steven Bell, who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 250 pounds, was subsequently arrested by an off-duty officer and charged with one count of assault on a female under 12 and two counts of assault on a female.
According to Asheville Citizen-Times, Bell will not serve any jail time for the January incident after he was convicted of two misdemeanours. He pleaded guilty of misdemeanour assault on a child under the age of 12 and one misdemeanour count of assault on a female for pushing a teenage girl during the altercation.
An additional misdemeanour charge for pushing another girl was dropped as authorities were unable to get in touch with her.
“Bell was sentenced to one 60 day suspended sentence and was placed on unsupervised probation for a period of 12 months,” District Attorney Todd Williams told Asheville Citizen-Times.
Bell has also been ordered to partake in a racial justice workshop within 90 days, as well as, complete anger management counselling. He will also pay court fees totalling less than $200.
After the video of the assault went viral, Bell was widely criticized for assaulting the underage girl. His lawyer, Andy Banzhoff, however, came to his defence in a statement, claiming Bell was only helping a woman who was being harassed by “a large pack of youths,” the Asheville Citizen-Times reports.
Banzhoff also tried to win some sympathy votes for Bell, adding that he was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder and felt threatened by the kids.
“His actions were not motivated by any animus towards the persons in that group. Mr. Bell’s belief is that all persons are created equal and that we are all children of God,” the statement read.