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April 22, 2014

Cousins to face charges for alleged belt whipping

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — Two cousins who allegedly beat a Warren middle schooler with belts as a punishment for stealing will face felony assault charges, Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Smith announced April 21.

The cousins, a 20-year-old woman and a 16-year-old male, both from Redford Township, were named in respective warrants for assault with a dangerous weapon, a four-year felony.

Warren detectives said previously that they were contacted by two people who claimed they viewed video on Facebook of a teenager being beaten with leather belts. Text reportedly included with the Facebook post indicated that the teen was being punished for stealing while at Warren’s Lincoln Middle School.

The alleged theft occurred last fall, while the video was reportedly recorded in February or March.

Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green said previously that the beating shown in the video “clearly crossed the line” as a punishment.

Police said the victim’s aunt and uncle are his legal guardians but that they are not the parents of the cousins now facing charges in the alleged assault.

In a statement announcing the charges, Smith said a 12-year-old who lives with the victim at a home on Hudson near Van Dyke and Nine Mile Road, where the beating occurred, recorded the video on his cellphone. It was later posted online after it was initially distributed to neighbors.

“This beating shocks the conscience. This sort of savagery will not be tolerated within our borders,” Smith said in the statement.

Warren Police Detective James Wolfe, the officer in charge of the case, said the district’s school resource officer was able to identify the victim shown in the video.  He said the victim’s guardians did not want to press charges in the case.

The cousins had not been formally arraigned at press time.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.