Miami-Dade prosecutors dropped assault and weapons charges Monday morning against Frank Acosta, the Barbara Goleman High School student who stabbed a fellow student he claimed attacked him.
Acosta said he was the victim of bullying, and video taken at the time of the stabbing clearly showed he was attacked by fellow student Mauricio Padron, 17. Despite that, he was charged with assault because he stabbed Padron with a small pocket knife. We was charged with a weapons violation because it’s illegal to bring a knife to school.
In a court hearing Monday, prosecutors said they would “nolle pros” the case, which means they declined to move forward with prosecution. That means the charges were dropped against Acosta, who claimed he was just defending himself against the much larger Padron.
Acosta was not in court Monday, but his attorney, Frank Gaviria said he was grateful his client can, “go on with his life and fulfill the American dream.”
A week after the incident, schools police also charged Padron – with battery and interference with education. Those charges still stand.
In the arrest report on Padron, the investigating officer seemed sympathetic to Acosta, writing that “due to the victim’s (Acosta’s) fear of being seriously hurt or incapacitated, he used the knife in an effort to protect himself.”
Attorney Robert Pelier, representing Padron, said the cell phone video of the incident whoch showed the attack doesn’t tell the whole story. Pelier said Acosta had brandished the knife in the earlier encounter in the cafeteria, and had it out and at the ready before Padron charged him in the stairwell.
“Mr. Padron had been threatened and was taking action to defend himself,” Pelier said. “The school system is preserving all of the surveillance video of the incident and the full story will be revealed in court. We do not intend to try this case in the media.”