Huntington Beach police have arrested a Huntington Beach High School student who was involved in an altercation this week with a visually impaired student.
The boy was arrested on suspicion of battery and released to his parents, police said.
Authorities said they were working with school officials and students while investigating the fight, which occurred about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday during the school’s lunch break.
A video of the incident that was widely circulated on the Internet was removed from YouTube on Thursday afternoon. In the video, a boy wearing a beanie punched another boy who police said “has a degree of visual impairment.” Seconds later, a third boy knocked the boy wearing the beanie to the ground.
According to police, the two boys involved in the initial altercation have a history of not getting along. They had an argument before the punch was thrown, police said.
The student’s disability does not appear to have been a factor in the incident, police said.
Cody Pines, a 17-year-old junior, says he was the one who stepped in and knocked the suspect to the ground. He said he has known the visually impaired boy since the sixth grade.
“I felt like he was getting really hurt and I felt like it was my obligation to go up there and help him,” Cody said. “That was my only reaction, to be honest.” He said he didn’t mean to hurt the other boy, “but I just wanted to make sure my friend was OK.”
Cody said he feels bad for the other boy and believes he should not have been arrested.
“I don’t think he really deserves that,” he said. “I think he made one big mistake, and I think everybody’s already punished him by telling him [he was wrong]. I really don’t want this kid’s life to be ruined.”
The Huntington Beach Union High School District said in a statement that the high school “firmly believes that all students are afforded an opportunity to learn in a safe and secure environment. Because of this, safety is the highest priority. Huntington Beach High School has a very strong anti-bullying code of conduct and will not condone this type of behavior from any student.”
Police said they do not expect to arrest Cody, and the school district said Friday that he has not been suspended and has attended classes since the incident.
Carpio writes for Times Community News.