ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) -- A witness to an assault at the Asheville Mall believes the accused was trying to stop a fight between juveniles before police say he shoved and struck a child.
Cellphone videos of a man shown shoving and punching a girl under 12 years old have taken social media by storm.
Fifty-one-year-year-old David Bell of Black Mountain is accused by police of assaulting the child in an incident that happened Saturday at the Asheville Mall.
Asheville police say a fight involving juveniles broke out at the mall that evening, and during the fight, Bell shoved a girl and struck her.
An off-duty officer arrested him. Bell is charged with one count of assault on a female under 12 and two counts of assault on a female.
With the permission of her parents, News 13 obtained an exclusive video from a juvenile eyewitness.
The witness who took the News 13 video says a fight was about to break out between two girls, and that the group of young people had gathered to record cellphone video of what was happening.
She believes David Bell was trying to stop the fight, but, she says, the arguing escalated into pushing and shoving between him and others.
She says Bell began pushing the kids into walls, doors and even the road, trying to break up the fight.
She further says that one girl whom Bell had pushed asked Bell respectfully why he was pushing them, and that Bell then began arguing with her and pushed her again.
She says when the girl approached Bell again after being shoved, he struck her in the face, knocking her to the ground.
The juvenile witness says that Bell then began walking away as kids at the scene began throwing things at Bell and chasing him down, so that the officer could arrest him.
The confrontation led to charges.
The News 13 video is blurred to protect the identities of the juveniles in the video, but still provides a clear look at the shove, followed by a punch.
If you were a witness to the incident and are willing to speak with a reporter, contact News 13 at 828-684-1340.
The Asheville Police Department says the incident is under further investigation.