A Chicago father who turned his teenage son over to the police after he was seen as part of a mob in a video beating and robbing a fellow 17-year-old believes that the legal system is treating his son too harshly.
Michael Palomino, who has been a sheriff's deputy of 30 years, turned in his son Raymond after he identified him in a YouTube video stomping, punching and slamming another boy to the ground, along with six other teens. All of the attackers covered their faces with hoods or masks during the attack last Sunday afternoon, except Palomino.
In the video the six attackers are seen beating and robbing a teenager of Asian descent in an alley behind a Chicago elementary school. They shout profanities and racial epithets while he is kicked and punched. The video received close to half a million views, and relatives of the 17-year-old who saw the clip informed the teenager's dad.
"As soon as I saw the video I had to call 911, the police department," Michael Palomino told "Good Morning America" today. "I did what was right as a parent … I am in law enforcement myself. The right thing was to turn him in."
He says it was especially gut-wrenching for him because of the decision he was forced to make after he saw the video. And while he doesn't regret his decision, he says the consequences for his son's behavior are too harsh.
Police have charged Raymond Palomino, 17, as an adult with one count of robbery and one count of aggravated battery. Three 16-year-old boys, three 15-year-old boys and one 15-year-old girl have also been charged as juveniles in connection to the case. Authorities are not releasing their names because they are minors, and they have been turned over to a juvenile detention center.
"They are trying to make him look like he is the aggressor in the whole video, and he is not. He is 17 and they are trying to make an example of him," Michael Palomino told ABC News.
Police disagree, however, and say this is a case of mob mentality.
"This is very clearly mob type of behavior. They get a lot of courage when its six or seven beating up one person. And this just isn't tolerable," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.
Raymond Palomino is being held on a $100,000 bond. His dad, a single father, can't afford to bail him out.
"He doesn't have a criminal background. That's what I don't understand," Michael Palomino said, while maintaining that he did the right thing. "I don't regret turning him in … now he has to suffer the consequences."
During a court appearance Monday, Judge Sandra Ramos refused Palomino's lawyers' request to drop the bond, and denied a request to release Palomino on electronic monitoring, according to ABC News affiliate WLS-TV.
Palomino told ABC News when he went to visit his son in jail, Raymond told him he did the right thing in turning him in.
The victim, a 17-year-old high school senior, was eventually able to escape his attackers after four minutes of beating. His cuts and bruises were treated at a hospital and he was released.
The attorney for Raymond Palomino has started a fund to help raise his $100,000 bail.
For more information on the fund, visit http://www.gofundme.com/freepalomino.