Police in Britain have received backlash for reportedly protecting six boys who allegedly covered a disabled woman in flour and eggs as she sat in a park last week.
Initial reports indicated that four boys were arrested in connection with last week’s attack in Bury St. Edmunds, but the London Evening Standard now reports that five boys were arrested for their role while a sixth boy was questioned by police.
The families of the teens reportedly requested police protection after a picture showing them posing over the dirtied woman went viral. A stepmother of one of the 15-year-old teens previously told the Daily Mail that threats from the public have put his 16th birthday party in jeopardy.
The Daily Mail reports that the victim, a woman in her 40s, had an unspecified mental illness. A witness also told the tabloid that the woman was having a mental breakdown at the park and had yelled at the boys before they dumped flour and eggs on her.
Outrage about the teens’ alleged actions shifted to police after they confirmed Monday that they were protecting the boys.
“This is a live investigation and we do not support vigilantism in any way, shape or form,” Acting Detective Superintendent Barry Byford told the Standard, adding that they’re also providing “support” to the victim.
“Social media users should remember that sharing names and images, which may later form part of a criminal investigation, can disrupt or jeopardize the case.”
[Featured image: Snapchat]