David Steven Bell, a 51-year old man from North Carolina, is facing assault charges for pushing and then punching an 11-year old Black girl and two other victims outside a mall. A video that shows a portion of the altercation has been circulating on social media and has sparked outrage against the grown man.
The video shows roughly 40 seconds of the incident, although it was not clear what happened before the video started. In the video, Bell can be seen shoving an 11-year-old girl backward and subsequently punching her in the face, which sent her to the ground.
Bell was immediately arrested by an off-duty officer at the Asheville Mall on Saturday after the incident. He was initially charged with assault on a female under the age of 12, a misdemeanor offense.
Two other victims, both 13-year old girls, told the police that Bell also pushed them during the incident. Bell was then charged with an additional two counts of assault on a female, also misdemeanors.
The victims refused any medical treatment and weren’t taken to the hospital.
The video of the incident has been going viral on social media and has sparked outrage against Bell, a 6-foot-5 man weighing 250 pounds, for assaulting much smaller girls. However, some are finding justification for Bell’s action, saying that he only defended himself after he was allegedly pushed by the group of Black girls.
Bell, a former piano teacher without an apparent previous criminal record, has been released from custody the next day of his arrest on an undisclosed amount of bail. He is due in court on February 3 for the three charges and faces up to 150 days in jail per charge.