An Okeechobee 18-year-old is accused of beating up a 16-year-old boy with autism, and the attack was recorded and posted online, according to an incident report from the Okeechobee City Police Department.
The 18-year-old and an adult have been arrested in connection with the case.
The victim told detectives he was invited to a party on SW 9th Street in Okeechobee last Friday where he drank alcohol and was then told to go outside and fight someone.
The teen said when he refused 18-year-old Andrew Wheeler was called.
After Wheeler arrived, the victim says Andrew began beating the teen. In the incident report he claims Wheeler followed him outside, choked him until he lost consciousness and struck him in the face.
A police officer later found the victim after midnight lying in the road on Southwest 6th Street. He was then transported to a hospital.
A doctor said the victim suffered a sprained neck, facial and scalp contusions and a concussion.
While at the hospital, the officer said he learned the video was posted to Facebook and that it was tagged to a Facebook profile with the name Andrew Wheeler.
Upon viewing the video, the officer noted that a detective recognized Wheeler in the video punching and kneeing the victim. Other people were standing around while the video was being recorded, according to the report.
Police located Wheeler on Sunday and placed him in custody.
Wheeler claims he received a call that there was “a drunk guy” at a party and he wouldn’t leave. He says he drove to the residence and went inside to take that person home. After walking outside to answer his phone, Wheeler went back inside and said he was told that the teen was punching and pushing another person.
Wheeler claims when he attempted to take the teen outside he tried to strike Wheeler.
Wheeler was not hit and struck the teen with his fist, according to the report. Officers say Wheeler admitted that he lost control of his temper.
Police then took Wheeler to the Okeechobee County Jail and charged him with child abuse without great bodily harm.
Okeechobee City Police Chief Denny Davis says his department arrested the suspected attacker within twenty four hours of getting the video — and the department is upset that people think they are trying to cover something up.
“I think the video is disgusting. It is just as upsetting to myself and my officers as it is to anyone else that viewed it. Absolutely no way would we ever attempt to cover up anything like that. So it’s very disturbing,” the chief said.
Police have also arrested Evadean Dailey Lydecker. They charged her with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor. She lives at the home where the alleged attack happened.
The police chief says he is expecting protesters outside his department Friday afternoon because the beating video went viral and accusations of a cover-up. He says that is absolutely not true and he says he will come outside and tell the protesters that himself.