BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Several high school students face long-term suspension and possible criminal charges after they were caught on cell phone camera attacking a senior citizen.
James LeGrand works with the Mayor's Impact Team near Shoshone Park in North Buffalo. A little more than 2 weeks ago, he was in the parking lot and noticed two girls arguing with many other students surrounding them, encouraging a brawl.
LeGrand said the students treat it as an "arena", forcing the fights. He tried, as he has several times before, to break up the fight and eventually got out his city-issued camera to take pictures. He warned the students he was going to show the images to their principal at Bennett High School.
That's when several of the male students attacked LeGrand, knocking him to the ground before punching and kicking him in the face.
"Each time I turned, you know, somebody was hitting me from behind," he said.
Someone who did not want to be identified gave 2 On Your Side the video of the attack. The video was taken by another student.
When he came to his senses, LeGrand called 911. It was investigated as 2nd Degree Robbery, according to the police report, because the suspects stole the camera and LeGrand's cell phone.
Although it might be seen by some as foolish, LeGrand says he had to intervene, because he couldn't just stand there and do nothing.
"I don't know if I could live with myself if I didn't try to stop it and one of those girls really got seriously, seriously hurt," he said.
A spokesperson for Buffalo Police declined our interview requests, but said the investigation continues and police have made progress in the case.
The mayor's office said it was an unfortunate incident and described the victim as a long-term employee and a "good worker."
Meantime, the Buffalo Public School District has done its own investigation and has identified most if not all of the students involved. We're told long-term suspension proceedings have already started.
Dr. David Mauricio, a BPS Community Superintendent and former principal at Bennett High School, released the following statement:
While this incident is a police matter, we expect all of our students to be good citizens, on and off campus. The behavior in question is not at all indicative of the Bennett High School community or the majority of our students. As former principal of Bennett High School and currently as the community superintendent overseeing Bennett, we strived to instill these positive values with our students on a daily basis.