Two men were arrested after police caught wind of a Facebook video in which a homeless man is punched and left unconscious.
On September 30, Nicholas Marr, 26, was seen in a video uploaded to the social media site punching the 33-year-old male victim, deputies said.
According to authorities, Marr and William Gregory, 30, are believed to have told the victim they would pay him $20 if Marr could slap him while Gregory recorded the incident. Instead, Marr punched the victim in the face, knocking him to the ground and rendering him unconscious, authorities said.
The incident was posted to Gregory’s Facebook page, where a concerned citizen viewed it and then decided to report it to authorities, the sheriff's office said.
Deputy Jean Rosalia identified the victim by contacting The Source, a local outreach organization specializing in helping the homeless, deputies said. Rosalia said she interviewed the victim who scarcely remembered the incident. Deputies said she arranged for him to receive an evaluation from a psychologist and the victim was diagnosed with low to borderline intellectual functioning. The victim meets the requirements to be a disabled adult for the purposes of the battery statute, authorities said.
“We want people to know that the Sheriff’s Office will not tolerate this type of activity. Simply because a person is homeless does not mean that we will not work just as hard to protect them from harm," said Sergeant Michael Pierce, Rosalia’s supervisor. "After speaking with the victim, Jean (Rosalia) knew he did not have the capacity to understand what these guys were intending to do to him. She went the extra mile on this case by ensuring that the victim received a proper mental health evaluation.”
Marr was arrested on Dec. 7 and Gregory was arrested on Dec. 6 for aggravated abuse of a disabled adult, a third degree felony, deputies said. Marr was also charged with misdemeanor battery while Gregory was charged with felony battery due to a previous conviction on a battery charge.
Both men have bonded out of the Indian River County jail and await their court date.