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Brothers charged in assault of Wilkinsburg student posted on Facebook

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Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 12:30 p.m.
 

Police on Friday arrested two brothers accused in the attack on a student at Wilkinsburg Middle School that was videotaped and posted on Facebook.

The suspects, 14- and 15-year-old students, turned themselves in to police about 3 p.m., Wilkinsburg Detective Chris Minton said.

Police said the 14-year-old boy punched and kicked seventh-grader Aisa Whitfield, 13, repeatedly in a school restroom on Thursday. The 15-year-old boy videotaped the attack and posted it on Facebook, Minton said.

Authorities would not disclose the suspects' names because they are juveniles.

Police charged the boys as juveniles with felony aggravated assault, felony conspiracy and misdemeanor unlawful restraint. They were being sent to Shuman Juvenile Detention Center in Larimer, police said.

Aisa's mother, Nickcole Whitfield, 39, was relieved to learn of the arrests but still worried about her son's safety.

“I'm thinking about just pulling my son out of school completely. From my understanding, these children live fairly close to me,” Whitfield said.

The attack occurred about 2 p.m. in a restroom near a cafeteria during a class change, acting district Superintendent Archie Perrin said. The amount of noise during that time likely prevented security from hearing the disturbance, he said.

The police department has asked Facebook to remove the video, Minton said.

There were more people than Aisa and the suspects in the restroom during the attack, said Minton. More arrests are likely forthcoming, police said.

“We will bring those responsible for this heinous crime to justice,” said police Chief Ophelia “Cookie” Coleman at a news conference with Perrin, Mayor John Thompson, Councilwoman Vanessa McCarthy-Johnson and clergy members.

Whitfield said Aisa, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and emotional problems, transferred from a private school to Wilkinsburg Middle last fall. She reported to school officials several times that the 14-year-old boy was bullying her son, she said.

Perrin declined to respond to Whitfield's comment but said the attack is not as clear-cut as it might seem. He did not elaborate.

“This particular case is a lot more complicated than what you just see on Facebook,” he said.

The district last fall instituted school uniforms for middle and high school students in an effort to instill discipline.

Whitfield said she and her family have lived in Wilkinsburg for four years, but they won't make it to five.

“I just want out of Wilkinsburg,” she said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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