Charges dropped against Columbus student arrested for troubling viral music video

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a Christopher Columbus High School student after he posted a disturbing music video on social media.

Sixteen-year-old Austin Valdes was arrested Sept. 12 after he created a music video following a viral trend and posted it on Tik Tok.

In court Friday morning, the presiding judge confirmed the teen will not be charged.

“The state will not move forward with prosecution of this case at this time,” she said.

Valdes had been charged with a felony of written threat to kill or cause bodily injury.

The student could be seen in the video wearing a Columbus High T-shirt, pointing his finger like a gun at the names of his rival schools, including La Salle and Marjory Stoneman Douglas, before eliminating them to the sound of gunshots in the song “All Talk” by 3ohBlack.

Prosecutors said they dropped the charges because they did not deem the threat in the video was credible, and neither did Miami Police officers investigating the case.

In a document from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, prosecutors wrote, “Motioning with his hand and appearing to shoot a firearm at the name of the school while dancing to a rap song does not constitute a credible threat to kill or do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting.”

The document states that Valdes was given a psychological evaluation that revealed the teen does not have a history of violence, substance abuse or major mental illness.

“Rather, he is a socially inept teenager who is showing typical signs of teens with impulsive, self-centered behavior, peer-related behavior with little thought as to the consequences of his actions,” the document states.

The document goes on to state Valdes is “deeply remorseful and ashamed of his behavior.”

A day after the teen’s arrest, his father called the video and the posting out of character for his son, but he also talked about how damaging the post is for everyone else.

“Horrible, horrible representation of himself, his family, his community, his friends, people that know him,” said Valdes’ father. “Now he’ll be identified as a person that made a 10-second video with horrible ramifications.”

Students at Columbus High said they believe Valdes has learned his lesson.

“I think it was silly what he did, personally, but I know the kid. Very nice kid, his family’s religious,” said senior Marcello Sallas. “I think he deserves another chance.”

“In his defense, I do think that he was just trying to go the trend and see what other kids are doing, but also, he has to pay attention to what he puts on social media,” said senior Sean Bueschele. “Obviously, a felony is really bad, so I’m happy that there isn’t a felony on him, but he needs to be more attentive to what he puts on the internet.”

Ultimately, authorities believe he has “learned a hard lesson.” Court documents state, “There is no indication from history, interview or test results that he presents a danger or risk to others.”

Valdes was also suspended from his school. According to court documents, his family plans to home school him, and they have also enrolled him in a teen program at their church.

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