Police have arrested a man for allegedly beating an autistic teen at a house party in Okeechobee, Florida, a brutal incident caught on tape and shared widely on social media.
The incident occurred on August 10, according to West Palm Beach-based WPTV:
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.
An officer reportedly found video of the incident on Wheeler's Facebook page and immediately recognized him as the assailant. Wheeler, 18, has previously been convicted of car burglary, multiple thefts, and resisting arrest.
When picked up by police, Wheeler said he'd simply answered "a call that there was 'a drunk guy' at a party" who wouldn't leave. He was arrested and charged by local police with "child abuse without great harm."
WPBF-TV reported this morning that Evadean Lydecker, the mother of the party's organizer, was arrested today for "contributing to delinquency of a minor/holding an open house party." Lydecker was reportedly at home during the party.
TV producers found the full video of the incident so disturbing that they edited it heavily for broadcast, opting to put the unedited version online only. That version is below.
Anger over the video has been palpable online, with a Facebook group and a hashtag—#JusticeForAaron, reportedly the name of the victim—springing up quickly. Many of those web activists were claiming that the boy had been invited to the party under false pretenses, expressly to expose him to beating:
Aaron Hill is a disabled boy in Okeechobee who was lured out of his home by a girl claiming to want to go on a date. Once to the location she chose, he was ambushed by Andrew Wheeler and a gang of at least 8 other people. Andrew beat him senseless, held a knife to his throat, And told him he was going to shoot and kill him. This was filmed the whole time, but currently this is the only video I can get a hold of. The video was on Andrew's facebook and he went around bragging about his crime. He was arrested, but only charged with minor assault and no charges or arrests are being made on the others involved. Some of the others involved have family in the Okeechobee police department and also DCF. One of the parents even destroyed evidence to protect their guilty little brat. So now the Okeechobee Police Department are trying to bury this story because some of the kids have ties to the department.
None of those allegations, however, have been confirmed by police. But they have led to some ominous threats against Wheeler and his alleged accomplices: