The video was shocking in Florida, where shocking videos seem like a genre. A group of teenagers laughed and watched as a man struggled in the water of a pond. The man drowned, and his body was not found for days.
The five teenagers did nothing to help him, not even call 911, but after examining the video, the authorities said this week that they did not break the law.
“In the state of Florida, there is no law in place that requires a person to render aid or call to render aid to a victim in distress,” Yvonne Martinez, a spokeswoman for the Cocoa Police Department, said on Friday.
But the local police were not giving up. Later in the day, they said that they believed a different Florida law requires any person who is aware of a death to report it. Ms. Martinez said the authorities would recommend charges under that law.
The man, Jamel Dunn, 31, drowned July 9, and his body was found five days later when the police received a report that it was floating near the edge of the pond in a park in Cocoa, a town with 18,000 people near Orlando.
As detectives investigated the death over the weekend, a family member of Mr. Dunn’s alerted them to the video, which the teenagers had begun sharing with friends.
The police asked the office of Phil Archer, the state attorney for Brevard and Seminole Counties, to review the footage.
But the prosecutor’s office said it did not contain the evidence needed for a criminal prosecution…