The bus driver was ultimately not charged for not intervening. The three attackers were charged with aggravated battery. One was also charged with robbery for stealing the victim’s money after the beating. They apparently had tried to sell him drugs earlier in the day and he may have reported them, according to one report. The attackers are black and the victim is white.
Gulfport police recently released surveillance video from a school bus that shows the bus driver’s perspective of a beating earlier this month.
In the video from July 9th, the victim is sitting in the second seat of the Pinellas school bus with his head down. The violence starts as soon as he stands-up to get off the bus.
The bus driver, John Moody can be heard yelling for somebody to try to stop them and calls dispatch for help, “I got a fight. I need help in a hurry, I got a fight I need help in a hurry.”
The punches and kicks continue, and the victim falls between the seats. At one point you can hear his screams on the video. The bus driver yells at the attackers, “leave that boy alone,” but doesn’t try to intervene physically.
Then he again calls dispatch to verify the address. “Get somebody out here quick, quick quick they’re about to beat this boy to death. There’s nothing I can do…please send somebody,” said Moody.
According to Pinellas school bus driver policy the driver’s first duty is to call dispatch, and only has to step in if they think it’s safe. They’re not required to intervene.
Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent has publicly questioned the driver’s lack of action even after the offending teens had left the bus. “There was time for him to intervene and or check on the welfare of the child in this case. He didn’t make any effort to do so and that’s what we want to bring to the attention of the prosecutor,” said Chief Vincent.
Police investigators turned this video and other evidence to the state attorney’s office. Prosecutors will determine whether to charge the driver with child neglect.