David Steven Bell, a 51-year-old white man at the Asheville Mall in Asheville, N.C., punched a Black girl in the face over the weekend. He was charged Saturday night with assault of a female under the age of 12. He could face up to 450 days in jail, if convicted.
Police spokeswoman Christina Hallingse said that an off-duty officer, who was already at the mall, arrested Bell after the incident.
Bell was released from the Buncombe County jail just after 1 a.m. Sunday, records show. There is no word on what bail was required for his release and when he will appear in
A bystander captured the incident on video, which has gone viral.
There was some type of altercation outside of a mall, and an adult SWS male viciously and cowardly attacks a small teenage Black girl. We need to identify this man pic.twitter.com/w9SZ96Rl6d
Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) January 13, 2019
Bell is a piano teacher from Black Mountain, N.C., who is married with a 20-year-old son and a teenage daughter. His piano teaching Facebook page has since been pulled down. Bell’s wife, Ann Bell, appears to be in the video standing off to the side watching her husband confront the groups of girls and, subsequently, hit the child.
Some felt she wasn’t the only person complacent in the situation.
comment from a bystander: “Mall cops hardly took the thing seriously.”
The mall wrote on Twitter:
We are aware of the videos circulating on social media. The @AshevillePolice responded immediately and the situation was diffused. An arrest has been made. Please contact the Asheville Police Department with further questions.
Asheville Mall (@AshevilleMall) January 13, 2019
Asheville Police have been under scrutiny for a 2017
incident where a white cop, who stopped a Black man, Johnnie Rush, for jaywalking, ended up choking Rush and beating him. Police released body cam footage to show the beating, and the officer even acknowledged, “I beat the s***t out of his head” to his supervisor.
The officer resigned before being fired for using excessive force. He was charged with felony assault in state court, but federal prosecutors said the “evidence does not give rise to the prosecutable violation of the federal criminal civil rights law.”
In comparison to Bell’s act of violence, just outside of Asheville in Haywood County, a 15-year-old biracial high school student received harsh punishment for defending himself. He was charged in December, initially with a felony, for punching another student in the eye after being bullied and backed into a corner by the student yelling racial slurs. The bully was sent home, while the biracial teen was sent to juvenile detention.
The charge was eventually changed from felony to assault, but for standing his ground against a racist bully, the biracial teen was still put in jail for
two days. The bully, among other racial slurs, said the biracial kid should be hanged like an Alabama wind chime.
Reader Question: Do you think authorities will take this assault of a minor case seriously