Deputies say fight caught on video was over ‘a boy’

By Shyann Malone – Anchor/Reporter , Tim Swift – Digital Editor

BOCA RATON, Fla. – After an investigation, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that it doesn’t believe a recent assault on a Muslim student was a hate crime.

The case garnered national attention after a video of the fight was published on social media. The video shows a group of teenage girls beating a 14-year-old West Boca High School student.

Deputies said they interviewed the suspects about the Dec. 21 fight at Sunset Cove Amphitheatre Park. They also met West Boca Raton High School officials.

“All participants agreed the fight was over ‘a boy’ and ‘a video that was circulated,'” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “All parties agreed to meet and to fight and a specific location and time.  There is no evidence of a hate crime.”

The sheriff’s office said the girls could face charges of simple battery.

The girl’s father, Shakeel Munshi, had said earlier that his daughter was targeted because she is Muslim.

Omar Saleh, a civil right attorney for the Council on Islamic Relations, said his organization has accepted the findings of the sheriff’s office, but said the assault is still disturbing.

“Whether it was over a boy or religiously motivated, based on what we’ve seen on the video the actions are atrocious,” Saleh said.