"Stop, please," a tearful Hope Holcomb says in a TV news segment. "Try to be nice."
Holcomb, a 10-year-old from East Sparta, Ohio, who has cerebral palsy, was pleading for her neighbors to stop bullying her. Disturbing video first aired by Fox 8 shows next-door dad William Bailey and his 9-year-old son appearing to imitate the girl's limping shuffle. Holcomb's parents, Tricia and Michael Knight, say the incident caps a pattern of torment, and they're pursuing charges of aggravated menacing against the Baileys.
The video, captured last week by Hope's grandmother after Bailey's son and Hope shared a bus ride home, has caused huge outrage
But the story goes deeper. Hope's family and the Baileys have been locked in a feud, police confirmed to CantonRep.com. Loud music complaints, name-calling -- the works, said Stark County Sheriffs, who have visited both homes many times.
And William Bailey is telling news outlets the Knights have been making fun of his son, who has seizures and ADHD. The father insists he wasn't imitating Hope. He claims he was injured on the job and had a real limp. “I love that little girl,” he told CantonRep.com. “I never even meant that or anything at all toward little Hope. I don’t make fun of anybody with a disability."
Hope's family isn't buying it. The Bailey son's teasing of Hope began last year aboard the school bus, they said. Hope would cry every morning and beg her mother to keep her off the bus, Tricia Knight told Fox 8. But the grown-up William Bailey allegedly getting caught in the act has put the Knights over the top. "I couldn’t believe it," Tricia Knight said to the New York Daily News. "I’m saying to him, ‘Are you serious? My daughter is seeing you.’”
Both Hope's family and the Baileys have filed complaints and are headed to the Canton prosecutor's office next week to resolve the dispute or find out if criminal charges can be filed.
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