London, Aug. 17: When police used social media to circulate footage of a teenage girl thug launching an unprovoked attack on an 80-year-old Sikh man, knocking him down and bending over him and deliberately spitting into his face, the film taken on a passer-by’s cellphone caused near universal revulsion.
As the girl walks away with her male companions, who made no attempt to restrain her, a member of the public is seen bending down to pick the victim’s turban which got knocked off his head when he fell to the ground.
But social media has its uses and reaction to the incident has been swift.
The Sikh pensioner has so far not been named but in a statement today, West Midlands police said: “A teenage girl has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting an 80-year-old man — leaving him with a bloodied nose and black eye — in a nasty Coventry city centre attack. The 19-year-old was arrested at around 6.30pm on Friday after police traced her to an address in Gloucester.”
The police said: “She will be taken to a West Midlands police station where she will be questioned about the attack in Trinity Street, Coventry, on Saturday evening (August 10) when the elderly victim was punched in the face and shoved to the ground. A video of the attack — recorded by a passer-by on cellphone — had been circulated widely on social media and met with a wave of revulsion from viewers.”
Coventry police chief superintendent Andy Nicholson commented: “This was a despicable, violent attack on an elderly man in broad daylight. The victim is an 80-year-old man — he was left with a bloodied nose and a black eye. A video showing the assault spread rapidly on social media and quite rightly the offender’s actions are being condemned by everyone who’s viewed it.”
Police said they were still keen to hear from people who witnessed the incident and moments leading up to the attack — and have urged anyone who shared the video or still images of the assault to remove them from social media accounts as they could hinder the inquiry.
Those with information were urged to get into contact with West Midlands police.
There were more details in newspaper reports. The Daily Mail, for example, said: “Police are treating the attack as serious malicious wounding, punishable with up to five years in prison.”
The girl “was flanked by three men as she continued hurling abuse and spitting on the man. The only person to help, by picking up the victim’s turban, approached as the thugs walked away.”
The video sparked outrage on Facebook and Twitter.
Harmony Lully admitted: “I actually feel physically sick, wish I never watched this now. I can’t believe anyone would ever have the audacity to do such a horrible thing, especially in my own city! And shame on the people who stood and watched/filmed her and didn’t have the decency to stop her. I hope justice will be served.”
Amadine Ambrico wrote: “See this is what the world is coming to, unbelievable. If that was my daughter I would drag her to the police station and let her face up to this disgraceful act.”
Ajay Singh added: ‘The Sikh turban is not just a piece of cloth ... It gives us a sense of responsibility ... Most of all, it gives us the values passed on to us by our holy book — and that includes standing up for the weak and vulnerable.”