Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla says it broke her heart to watch a video taken Thursday morning showing a 14-year-old Topeka girl being repeatedly punched and kicked in the face by another girl.
"I think we need to – as a community – start having conversations with all of our children about how talking is absolutely important and violence is never the solution to any issue," she said late Friday afternoon.
District Attorney Mike Kagay announced about that same time that his office had initiated legal action against the alleged assailant, a 12-year-old girl Topeka police said they arrested late Thursday in connection with aggravated battery, a felony.
Police were looking Friday at potentially pursuing further prosecution in the case.
"This incident remains very active," said Gretchen Koenen, public relations specialist for the Topeka Police Department. "Additional arrests or citations may be forthcoming pending the outcome of the investigation."
Police were not releasing the name of the girl they arrested in connection with the attack, which was allegedly committed about 11:45 a.m. Thursday in the 1200 block of S.W. Washburn Avenue.
Michael Beaty told The Capital-Journal Thursday that the victim, his 14-year-old daughter, was repeatedly punched and kicked in the face, leaving her sore and bruised but otherwise OK.
Beaty posted online a video of the fight, which he said his daughter received from a friend. The video was more than a minute long. It could no longer be found online Friday.
Thursday’s attack comes at a time when Shawnee County has also seen incidents of teen violence caught on video in which:
· Videotaping of physical altercations had become so common in Shawnee Heights Unified School District 450 by last November that school board President Eric Deitcher said parents should ask their children to stop videotaping those fights and "getting their 15 minutes of social media fame."
· Alexis Robinson was sentenced to serve 24 months on probation in 2016 after being adjudicated as being guilty of aggravated battery linked to a December 2014 attack caught on video that victimized Abbey Skinner inside Washburn Rural High School, where both were students.
De La Isla on Friday described Thursday’s attack on Beatty’s daughter as being a "very heart-breaking moment for our community."
She said it is important, at this point, for this community to show support for both the victim and the girl who attacked her, to discourage the latter girl from doing the same type of thing again.
"All of our youth have value," the mayor said. "This girl (the attacker) made a bad decision, but that doesn’t necessarily make her a bad individual."
The importance of adults communicating with youngsters about conflict resolution was illustrated by the presence at Thursday’ attack scene of other youngsters who were afraid to itnervene, De La Isla said.
"This is where we have to have conversations so that more than one child could have the ability to eliminate those situations from happening,"she said.
This community also needs to support and communicate with the other youngsters who were at the scene but were afraid to interviene, De La Isla said.
She added that Thursday’s attack is not a reflection of all the youth in this community.
"We have amazing youth here," De La Isla said.