Matt Martel, a 29-year-old man from Villa Rica, Georgia, has been arrested and charged with a number of offenses for attempting to beat his Black neighbor’s 15-year-old son with a belt because he didn’t like the language the teenager was using.
Zack Linly of The Root reported that Maliyk Sim was in his front yard with friends and relatives when Martel stormed out of his home across the street and attempted to discipline the teen with his belt because of the inappropriate “language” he was using.
Martel grabbed the teen by his shirt and shoved him repeatedly, causing minor injuries, before Maliyk’s mother, Latika, was able to intervene. The Sim’s home security camera captured the whole encounter on film.
Latika Sim later called the police, and Martel was arrested for the incident, charged with assault, battery, cruelty to children and disorderly conduct.
In an interview with a local TV news affiliate, Lakita Sim said, “I was just panicked. I could not believe that in 2021 a fully grown man would think that it was OK to come outside with a belt. When you see the video, he is running full speed at him, and [Maliyk was] caught off guard.”
When asked to recount the event, Maliyk said that Martel “grabbed me with his hands around my neck. He threw me up against a garage, and I hit my head.”
According to Linly, “Maliyk said he was in shock, but knew he didn’t want to get in trouble for fighting back.”
“My son has played football, he has played every sport, he is fully capable of defending himself,” his mother said. “But he [also] knew he could not defend himself. So, he walked away. He walked away and, still, this man is chasing him with a belt. So, now I am in a full panic because my kids are unprotected.
“I have worked in childcare for 15 years,” she added. “I have had kids say crazy things to me. I have had them hit me. I have never once thought, let me take my belt off and beat someone else’s kid.”