A belt-wielding west Georgia man was arrested after he attacked a Black teenager because the boy was allegedly using profanity while playing basketball with cousins outside his aunt’s Villa Rica home.
The July 10 incident was captured on a home surveillance camera, which shows 29-year-old Matt Martel confronting 15-year-old Maliyk Sim, belt in hand. “I was just panicked. I could not believe that in 2021 a fully grown man would think that it was OK to come outside with a belt,” said the teen’s mom, Latika Sim told 11Alive. Martel, who was arrested on Monday, July 12, faces charges of assault, battery, cruelty to children, and disorderly conduct.
She added that the video shows Martel “running full speed at him,” and that her son was completely “caught off-guard.”
Martel reportedly told the police he was angry because Martel was using profanity as he played basketball with his cousins. Footage shows Martel confronting the teen, before grabbing the front of his shirt before the two left the view of the camera. A crash is heard while the two are off camera.
“And he grabbed me with his hands around my neck. He threw me up against a garage and I hit my head,” Sim said, adding that he was in shock but afraid to fight back because he feared he would get into trouble.
“My son has played football, he has played every sport, he is fully capable of defending himself. But he knew he could not defend himself. So he walked away. He walked away and still this man is chasing him with a belt. So now I am in a full panic because my kids are unprotected,” said Sim’s mother. She was inside her sister’s home at the time, and rushed over and called the police.
“I have worked in child care for 15 years. I have had kids say crazy things to me, I have had them hit me, I have never once thought, let me take my belt off, and beat someone else’s kid. So even when he’s texting saying, he heard my son say a curse word, I do not care,” she said, adding that she wished Martel would have contacted her or another family member if they were concerned about the teen’s language.