A 16-year-old boy accused of body-slamming another boy in what’s been described as a gang-related attack that was posted on social media is being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.
Yakima County Superior Court Commissioner Susan Arb said she considered setting a higher bail than what prosecutors sought, noting the alarm the crime has caused in the community, as well as the suspect’s history of probation violations, which included three warrants for his arrest.
“I am not sensing that you will follow the rules,” Arb told the boy, who sat in court in an orange detention center uniform. He only answered yes or no to Arb’s questions, and confirmed his birthdate.
In a video posted to Facebook, a shorter boy tries to avoid a group that is confronting him on the street. A taller boy authorities have identified as the suspect punched the other boy in the face, grabbed him by the waist and slammed him head-first onto the pavement.
Yakima police say the incident occurred around 3 p.m. Oct. 3 near Washington Middle School.
Police identified the suspect after receiving tips on its social media page, city spokesman Randy Beehler said earlier, and he was arrested on suspicion of assault.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erika Rutter said $5,000 bail was appropriate due to the “concerning” nature of the incident, as well as the suspect’s prior criminal history that includes a diversion for misdemeanor assault, using abusive language and his probation violations.
“You can see (the victim) try to move away. He’s scared,” Rutter said, referring to the video. She also said the case was considered gang-related.
But defense attorney Jeff Swan and the suspect’s mother argued that he should be released. Swan said the boy is a junior at Stanton Academy and has been going to school every day.
His mother said he is also needed at home to watch his four younger siblings while she works.
“He is a good kid. I don’t know what happened that day,” his mother said.
Arb said the fact that the attack was recorded and broadcast on social media caused alarm in the community, and even puts the suspect at risk of being attacked if he is out in the community. Those factors and his past probation violations had her leaning toward an even higher bail, but she instead followed Rucker’s recommendation.
If he does post bail, Arb said he will be under strict rules, including having no contact with the victim or going anywhere but home or school without his mother’s permission.
“If there is any hint that you have contacted (the victim) or that you asked anyone else to contact him, there could be additional charges and you could be detained,” Arb warned him.
He is expected to be back in court on Oct. 16 for arraignment.
The Yakima Herald-Republic does not identify crime victims or minors accused of crimes.