Father of 14-year-old filmed during apparent overdose asks witnesses to help RCMP
'Peer pressure and mob mentality' played role in others filming, sharing video of distressed teen: lawyer
The father of a 14-year-old who was filmed as he lay dying from an apparent overdose in Langley, B.C., is pleading with those who have information about what happened to avoid vigilantism and speak to RCMP officers instead.
Carson Crimeni was found still breathing by his grandfather on the pavement at the Walnut Grove skate park at 9:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Carson later died in hospital.
Police said the teen died of an apparent drug overdose and investigators are now looking for anyone who might have spoken to the boy in his final hours.
Carson's family said they believe someone gave him drugs. They said witnesses stood by, laughing, and took videos of the boy overdosing and later posted them to social media.
The boy was alone when his grandfather found him, his cellphone in a nearby garbage can.
The videos have prompted outrage and disgust online.
But Aron Crimeni, Carson's father, said any witnesses angered and upset by what happened should react by going to RCMP.
"We understand that these events have emotionally affected many people, and we ask that the community let the police do their investigation to get us answers and justice," Crimeni wrote in a statement sent to media on Sunday.
"If you were at the skate park that afternoon — or know somebody who was — we ask you to come forward at this time or contact the 24-hour tipline.
"We also sincerely ask that, as a community, we trust the RCMP. Do not take matters into our own hands. Any actions other than providing tips and evidence will distract from the investigation."
WATCH: Aron Crimeni speaks to CBC following the death of his son
Criminal lawyer Kyla Lee said the people who filmed Carson could be charged with criminal negligence causing death.
Lee said the action of filming would be enough to show deliberate disregard for the teen's life, which would allow the Crown to prove the offence.
"It's very apparent watching the video that this child is in distress," said Lee, citing the captions on the video posted to Snapchat, which disappeared within 24 hours.
Lee said the video was sent directly to her and was also plainly visible online.
Lee said those who were with Carson saw him as entertainment, rather than as a human — largely due to the fact that Carson was being broadcast on social media and that people were engaged in the event as a group.
"This situation says so much about the way that peer pressure and mob mentality can completely put people's blinders on to what the appropriate response is in a circumstance," Lee said.
"It takes away the sort of ability that people have to really consider what's happening. But it also eliminates the ability of anybody who's concerned to want to speak up when you have a group of people who are all expressing a particular view.
"You see people deviate in significant and extraordinary ways from their ordinary behaviour and act in ways that are legally reprehensible ... as they did in this case," Lee added.
Anyone between the ages of 12-18 charged in relation to Crimeni's death would be prosecuted in youth court, said Lee.
With files from Alex Migdal and Belle Puri