It's become more and more common for law enforcement to use social media to identify and investigate those accused of criminal activity. It seems more crimes are being discovered now that we share just about everything we do with people over the Internet.
Case in point: A group of teenage girls in Chester who allegedly beat a mentally challenged woman on the front stoop of her house, and then posted video of the attack on Facebook, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. The six girls appeared to be dancing and rapping in the street when one was heard saying, "I'm gonna f--- this b---- up," which led all six to attack the woman.
The woman ran into her house to escape, but the teens followed her in and continued the beating, according to the Daily News. As of now, four of the six girls have been arrested, according to the Associated Press.
What charges could be brought against these girls?
We'll start with the most obvious: assault and battery. Technically speaking, assault is threatening imminent harm while battery is physically striking someone, though many states no longer differentiate between the two. Assault and battery become "aggravated" when severe injury is caused or a deadly weapon is used.
Based on the video in this case, assault and battery charges seem likely. However, it would be difficult to say at this point whether the attac was aggravated, because the victim did not go to a hospital, but did seek medical treatment for her injuries.
(Warning: graphic content and foul language)
As we can see from the video, the girls not only hit the woman on the street, but then followed her into her house and continued to beat her. These actions could lead to an additional felony charge of burglary.
Burglary is not just breaking into a house to steal things. Instead, the crime of burglary is defined as unlawfully entering a building with the intent to commit a crime inside.
Here, the girls did not have permission to enter the woman's house. Also, it certainly looks like the point of entering the house was to continue the assault that began outside the house.
We will have to see what happens to these girls, as it will be difficult to identify who did exactly what unless there are some admissions. Prosecutors will likely be offering a plea deal to one or more of the girls to help identify the others.
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