Photos of a teen boy lying beaten and partially clothed on a Milwaukee sidewalk are generating intense reaction on social media this week, with some outraged at the violence and others saying the boy got what he deserved.
It's the backstory that has people fired up. The boy was suspected of trying to steal a car on the city's south side, and he was beaten and stripped of his pants after his victim caught him in the act, police say. Photos of the boy then were posted on Facebook and shared widely.
The attempted car theft and beating happened around 1:50 p.m. Monday near S. 32nd St. and W. Madison St. Police said, in a statement first reported by WITI-TV, that the owner of the vehicle saw two people trying to steal it, and he confronted the suspects.
One suspect was able to flee in a getaway vehicle, but the other didn't make it and was punched by the car theft victim, police say. As the suspect tried to climb a fence to get away, another witness caught him by the pants, pulling them off.
The car theft suspect was identified by police as a 15-year-year old Milwaukee boy, who suffered a minor injury in the incident and has been arrested. The case will be forwarded to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office for charges against the boy.
Police also said in their statement on the incident that they plan to recommend charges against the person responsible for beating the boy and posting the photos on Facebook. That person's identity still is under investigation, police said.
The image that has been shared over and over on Facebook appears to be a cellphone screen grab of a man's post to a Facebook group called MKE Auto Market.
The post includes two photos of the beaten suspect. One photo is a closeup of the boy's head lying on the sidewalk with his eyes closed. The other photo is a wider shot that shows the boy sprawled out on the snow in what appears to be only a shirt, underwear and socks.