Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(LA PORTE, Texas) — A Texas man was recently arrested for slapping a 12-year-old boy in the face. He claims the boy was was bullying his young stepdaughter, according to police.
James Peace, 37, of La Porte, Texas, had just picked up his stepdaughter from school when he saw the boy walking home with a friend in Harris County last Thursday afternoon. Peace told investigators that his stepdaughter has depression and that the boy's teasing caused her "serious psychological harm," an officer with the Deer Park Police Department stated in the probable cause affidavit.
Peace pulled over, got out of the car and began shouting at the boy for picking on his stepdaughter. He then struck the boy with an open palm on the side of his face before getting back into his car and driving away, according to the affidavit.
Peace initially denied the act when questioned by police the following day, but admitted to it after he was advised that a surveillance camera from a nearby residence had captured the entire incident. Peace told police that "he let his emotions get the best of him," according to the affidavit.
Peace faces a felony charge of injury to a child.
The boy told police he didn't know the adult who slapped him but recognized his classmate sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. The boy said the man told him not to tell anyone what happened or "he will beat them up too, even the police." The boy said he didn't immediately tell his parents or others because he "was afraid that the man may return and cause more harm to him or his family," according to the probable cause affidavit.
The boy took a photo of himself after the incident, which he later showed to police. The picture shows the boy with "an obvious large handprint on the left side of his face that was extremely red and appeared to be swelling," according to the affidavit.
The next day, the boy told his teacher about what happened after asking if he could stay in class and have lunch with her rather than go to the cafeteria with the other students, explaining that he didn't want to see the classmate who was in the vehicle when the man slapped him. The teacher immediately notified school officials and the boy's mother, prompting a police investigation.
Peace's stepdaughter told police she did see her stepfather slap the boy in the face but "didn't think it was that hard of a strike." She said the boy had been "picking on her at school and calling her names and that she told her parents about it," which led to the confrontation, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Peace's wife, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC Houston station KTRK that her daughter called and asked for a ride home because the boy and his friend were bullying her after school.
"Saying that her body was ugly, said that she was a transvestite, started throwing ice cream at her and then they picked up the rocks," the mother told KTRK, adding that she doesn't agree with her husband's actions. "He took it too far, he did."
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