A Texas father, James Olander Peace, was arrested earlier this week and now faces criminal charges after allegedly slapping a 12-year-old boy who was harassing his step-daughter.
ABC13 News reported that on February 14, Peace’s daughter called her parents while walking home from school and asked to be picked up. The child was upset and told her parents that the boy and his friend had been calling her names.
A video on the news site features an interview with Peace’s wife, who revealed that the boys harassed her daughter on her way home from school by calling her “ugly” and a “transvestite.” The mother also claimed the boys attacked her daughter by throwing ice cream and rocks at her.
A press statement made by Deer Park Police Lt. Chris Brown reveals the parents happened to spot the boy who had been bullying their daughter while they were driving, and the father decided to stop and confront the boy.
According to testimony and video from nearby surveillance cameras, Peace yelled at the boy for a moment before he struck him across the face.
Lt. Brown confirmed the 37-year-old father slapped the boy across his face using an open hand, which caused his cheek and jaw to swell up and become red.
Court records also reveal the father threatened the boy not to go to the police with what had happened, or he would “beat him up.”
The man allegedly slapped the boy "with such severity" that it knocked his headphones out of his ear, police say. https://t.co/BNMgOca2bG
— azcentral (@azcentral) February 20, 2019
Peace’s wife, who has asked to remain anonymous for the safety of her and her family during this time, admitted to standing beside and continuing to support her husband, even though she didn’t necessarily agree with what he had done and felt he had taken things a little further then he should have.
According to authorities, it was the 12-year-old’s refusal to go to the lunchroom the next day at school because he didn’t want to come anywhere near Peace’s step-daughter that tipped police off after the juvenile told his teacher what happened.
After the allegations from the boy were investigated, police went to Peace’s home where – according to KHOU 11 – the father tried to deny the accusations until the officer told him that it had been caught on camera. Peace later confessed to his actions.
The bully may have had it coming, but adults can’t go around slapping 12-year-old boys in the face#JamesOlanderPeace #DeerPark #Texas #Felonies #SchoolBullying #Bullies #Education #CaughtOnCamera https://t.co/6nMyFgNwvW
— Richard D. Webster (@rdwebster) February 19, 2019
Parents across the country have come to James’ defense and praised him for doing what he could to protect his step-daughter from her bully. Anonymous supporters set up a fundraiser to help the family with living expenses while they deal with the ongoing legal battle. The GoFundMe campaign has raised a little over $1,500 in just three days.
The Star-Telegram reports Peace was arrested on Monday and was released on a $15,000 bond. He is currently being charged with felony injury to a child.