Proposed legislation penalizes fight witnesses who don't call for help

ANSON COUNTY, N.C. — An Anson County teenager spoke only with Channel 9 about being beaten unconscious as about a dozen people stood and watched, while some recorded video.

Channel 9 obtained the video of the attack in January, which is graphic in nature. It ends with Hannah Baker lying unconscious without anyone calling for help.

“Things would’ve been different had somebody helped me,” Hannah Baker told Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster.

Months after the attack, she still suffers from a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and even has seizures.

Her mother, Genia Baker, said, “It’s hard to watch her sometimes. She’s scared."

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Investigators said the attack stemmed from an earlier argument at a Walmart, but Hannah Baker told Channel 9 that she left the store to avoid trouble. She was later attacked at a car wash in Wadesboro.

Wadesboro police charged two teen girls with assault in connection with the fight, but Hannah's mother thinks the dozen or so people standing by should be held accountable too.

She learned almost a dozen other states have what's known as a duty rescue law, but North Carolina doesn't.

“It’s common sense. You just don’t let people get hurt and do nothing,” Genia Baker said.

She contacted Sen. Tom McInnis, who recently introduced a bill in Raleigh that would make witnessing a fight without trying to help or calling for help, a crime.

"If you’re going to be out here and be a party to someone being assaulted, or for that matter, killed, and you don’t, you know, make an attempt to help them... that you’re going to carry some liability,” McInnis said.

The Baker family hopes the bill becomes law and deters people from recording video of attacks.

Genia Baker said, "We want to help others so another parent or another child never has to go through this and suffer the way she has.”

If lawmakers approve Senate Bill 405, witnesses who don't try to help could be charged with a misdemeanor crime and be fined between $100 and $500.

“I want it to be a law in every state,” Hannah Baker said. “There’s no reason in the world you can’t pick up your phone and call 911.”

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