PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Local recreation centers are supposed to be safe places for kids and teens, but what happened outside the rec center in Brookline is now the subject of a police investigation.
The popular facility is a haven for teenage boys, who come to play hoops and football outside, and a lot more inside – a million dollar community investment paying off, until this.
Police say the incident happened in broad daylight along Brookline Boulevard. A 15-year-old boy was at the center to play some hoops.
That’s when a group of African-American teenage boys approached the white victim and began beating him, allegedly to steal his basketball shoes, and for website notoriety.
On the video the group of boys can be heard screaming the name of the website “World Star” (for WorldStarHipHop.com) as they round the corner. That’s when police say they attacked. Another teen captured the attack on his cell phone.
World Star is an urban outlet website that hosts music videos, artist information, and also posts viral videos.
It’s described as a “shock site.”
District Judge Jim Motznik was blown away by the tape. As a city councilman he represented the district, and fought for the funds to make the center work.
“This rec center, this area where kids come should be a safe haven,” said Motznik. “Kids should be able to come here without fear.”
Police tell KDKA’s Marty Griffin that the two suspects who beat the victim are teenagers, one 15-years-old and the other 17-years-old.
Sources tell KDKA they beat the young man in order to steal his basketball shoes, and to get notoriety for the beating on the website.
A 15-year-old friend of the victim says he’s going to be okay.
Griffin: “Are you scared to be down here?”
Victim’s friend: “No.”
Another teenager, who also plays hoops at the rec center, says it has to stop.
“It shouldn’t be happening because it’s a park and there shouldn’t be fights,” the victim’s friend said.
Motznik, who was sickened by the tape, says this sort of thing in his community park is done. He guarantees it.
“These people will be arrested and face the maximum fine and penalty for their actions,” he said. “They’ve issued warrants for their arrests. There will be more police patrols. Staff will come out of the building so that not only is it safe inside but also safe outside.”
Police tell KDKA the teens will face aggravated assault, robbery, conspiracy and possible illegal use of communication device charges.