Man seen beating up teen charged; MMA fighter lined up to punch him out
Video provided by Kevin Wise
The adults-only dating website that's been looking to stage a prize fight between the person seen beating up a teenager in a viral video and someone "capable of knocking the s— out of this guy" said Monday it has found its fighter.
HotRussianBrides.com — a seemingly out-of-nowhere ally for the teen seeing beaten hit and kicked by a bearded man threatening to kill him in the video, shot in a West Deptford home — says MMA fighter Sam Oropeza has been selected to box against the man in a legal, regulated match.
Also Monday, West Deptford Police announced charges against Paul A. Cojocaru — who goes by Tony — a 26-year-old from National Park in Gloucester County. Cojocaru was charged with aggravated assault in the third-degree and making terroristic threats in the third degree. His bail was set at $50,000, full cash.
Cojocaru posted bail and was released, police said.
"What you see in that video is what took place," West Deptford Chief Samuel DiSimone told New Jersey 101.5.
What's seen in the video — which DiSimone said was shot in January at the home of a person both Cojocaru and his alleged victim knew —appears brutal. In the video, the man authorities have since identified as Cojocaru repeatedly hits and kicks the teen, who covers his face and body, but doesn't fight back.
"I will destroy you," the man says. "Are you going to the cops? I'll f---ing kill you."
DiSimone said police still aren't entirely sure who shot the video.
"The (alleged victim) is saying he doesn't know why it happened," DiSimone said. Cojocaru told police an in interview Monday various incidents throughout the evening led up to the altercation, DiSimone said, but he declined to elaborate.
The video was first posted online last Tuesday by fellow South Jersey resident Kevin Wise, who has told New Jersey 101.5 he doesn't know the parties involved, but was asked to post it on behalf of a friend of a friend who was worried about retaliation. It has been viewed nearly 5.5 million times on his Facebook page.
Throughout the week, police said they were aware of the identities of all of those involved, and the teen and man hadn't had further contact. DiSimone said it took police nearly a week to issue charges because while the case may have seemed open-and-shut to the casual observer — an adult is seen repeatedly hitting, cursing at and threatening to kill a teen who isn't fighting back — police couldn't make assumptions without investigating further.
"You can look at this video and say, 'There's no excuse for this. Let's assign charges for this right away,'" he said. "But you never know. Who's to say two seconds before they started filming this the juvenile wasn't hitting him with a bat? That may be very unlikely, but we can't assume."
Police have also asked people not to take matters into their own hands — DiSimone said that's in response to several online postings from people suggesting someone go after the man seen in the video. But he wasn't aware of the HotRussianBrides.com offer.
The site's idea: Stage a legal, supervised boxing match, and pay $10,000 to the winner. But Paul Cookson of AdArmyGroup.com, representing the Russian brides site, has told New Jersey 101.5, "We don’t want a guy who’s a child abuser, who’s a weasel, who’s a coward in our opinion, to benefit from this fight. My hope is that we’re going to find someone easily capable of knocking the s— out of this guy.”
HotRussianBrides.com hasn't made contact with Cojocaru. It's hoping someone can pass his contact information to pr@HotRussianBrides.com, so it can offer him a chance to participate.
HotRussianBrides.com also said in a statement it plans to donate funds to a charity dedicated to ending child abuse "because behavior that's depicted in the video should never be condoned."