TW: Videos contain violence and may be disturbing to some
A 14-year-old LGBTQ+ teenager who made national headlines in 2021 after being attacked at a South Florida middle school has been viscously assaulted again.
Last year, a video of sixth-grader Chad Sanford being beaten by classmates received national media attention.
The short clip showed Sanford walking through a hallway when an older teen grabbed them from behind, then body-slamming Chad to ground while yelling homophobic slurs.
In the 2021 recording, you can see classmates watching and recording the attack but no one stepping in to help.
At the time, several high-profile public figures voiced outrage over Sanford’s beating, including Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles, who shared the clip to Instagram.
The 2021 attack:
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Just over one year later, Sanford, now 14, was beaten again simply for being openly trans, with the whole thing caught on camera for the second time.
Speaking to WPLG, Sanford detailed the attack, saying that when someone knocked at the door of their home in Pampano Beach, they assumed it might be friends calling to be social.
Sanford explained that after being lured out of the house under a false pretence of hanging out, once they were outside, “They came behind me and jumped me.”
Sanford told the outlet that the attackers yelled abuse, like “Don’t come around me with that gay shit!”, as they began their violent attack, where Chad was disgustingly outnumbered.
The distressing video, obtained by WPLG, shows three boys kick and beat Sanford relentlessly while a fourth looks on. Watch the video, which comes with a trigger warning, below or here.
On Wednesday (August 10), Broward County deputies arrested two of the teenagers seen in the video on misdemeanour charges.
“Two juveniles were arrested for simple battery and public orders crime prejudice,” said public information officer Claudinne Caro in a statement obtained by the outlet. “The juveniles were transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center.”
Law enforcement are still investigating and the potential of federal hate crime charges being brought against the assailants has not yet been ruled out. It is not yet known whether any other parties involved in the attack will be arrested, but reports say it is a possibility.
Civil rights attorney and former prosecutor Melba Pearson says the teens should “150%” receive hate crime charges, but suggested incarceration for the attackers would not solve the issue.
“I think that they need counseling,” she said. “I think that they need to be held accountable, whether it be [through] community service, other aspects, but they need to learn that this behavior is wrong, because they were taught this somehow. They didn’t just wake up one day and decide to attack someone because they’re transgender.”
Federal hate crime charges carry up to a five-year sentence, should the charge be elevated from misdemeanours during the investigation, which at the time of writing is still ongoing.
In 2021, Chad’s grandmother, who asked for her identity to be protected, said the previous year hadn’t been easy.
“Just let Chad be Chad,” she said at the time. “Guys was spitting on him on the bus and treating him any kind of way because of his transgender and life of what he want to be. I’m just frustrated.”
Days after that attack last year, Chad told Local 10 News, “It’s just sad because, I wanted to commit suicide.”
News reports from the 2021 attack: