A Texas man is facing a felony charge after he allegedly slapped his stepdaughter’s 12-year-old bully across the face, according to police records.
James Peace, 37, allegedly smacked the boy “with such severity” that it knocked his headphones out of his ear, police in Deer Park, Texas, wrote in a criminal complaint.
Now, Peace faces a felony injury to child charge filed over the weekend. He was released Tuesday on a $15,000 bail following his arrest, records show.
The incident occurred on Valentine’s Day, when Peace allegedly confronted a boy who his stepdaughter had said called her names and picked on her, police say.
Peace allegedly stopped the boy and a friend on the side of the road and yelled in the his face. Before getting back into his car, Peace allegedly struck the boy with an open hand and told the child that if he were to tell anyone about it, he “will beat them up too, even the police,” the criminal complaint states.
According to police, the slap left a handprint on the boy’s face, which appeared to be red and swelling.
The next day, the boy told his teacher that he didn’t want to go to lunch because he didn’t want to see Peace’s stepdaughter, police say. When the teacher asked why, the boy explained what happened.
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Police say they reviewed video from a nearby home that shows the alleged incident. They also spoke with the boy’s friend, as well as another person in the area who told police they saw the incident. Both said the boy was “in shock” as the alleged altercation unfolded but that he didn’t retaliate in any way, according to the complaint.
When police confronted Peace about the incident, he eventually admitted to it, police say.
Peace allegedly told police that his stepdaughter “suffers from depression and that when the boys pick on her, it causes serious psychological harm,” but that “he let his emotions get the best of him” during the incident.
In an interview with KHOU-TV in Houston on Tuesday, Peace said he regretted hitting the boy and should have instead spoken with his parents. But he defended standing up for his stepdaughter.
“I’m not going to walk around here and hurt no kids. I never have before in my life. It’s just that I defend my kids. If it was ever the same way, I would check my own kids in front of you if I needed to. Right then and there,” Peace told the television station.
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