29-year-old Matt Martel of Villa Rica, Georgia was arrested on charges of assault, battery and cruelty to children.
The arrest came after Martel charged onto a neighbor's property to attack 15-year-old Maliyk Sim with his belt as Sim and his cousins were playing basketball at his aunt's Villa Rica home.
The terrifying incident was all caught on video by a home security camera. While the footage of the video is grainy, one can clearly hear a crash after Martel grab's the front of Maliyk's shirt and pulls him off-camera.
11 Alive spoke with Maliyk's mother, Latika Sim.
Latika Sim said:
"I was just panicked."
"I could not believe that in 2021 a fully grown man would think that it was OK to come outside with a belt."
"When you see the video, he is running full speed at him and he's caught off guard."
Her son Maliyk told 11Alive about how the unsettling events unfolded.
"And he grabbed me with his hands around my neck. He threw me up against a garage and I hit my head."
Maliyk's mother quickly called the police.
According to a police report, Martel claimed his actions were justified because Malyik and his cousins were using profanity while playing basketball in his aunt's yard.
It's an excuse Latika Sims doesn't accept.
She told 11Alive she wished Martel had chosen to call either her or her sister, rather than resort to violently attacking a 15-year-old.
"I have worked in child care for 15 years."
"I have had kids say crazy things to me, I have had them hit me, I have never once thought, let me take my belt off, and beat someone else's kid."
"So even when he's saying he heard my son say a curse word, I do not care."
Both mother and son expressed the unfortunate, and sobering fact Maliyk defending himself wasn't an option.
Maliyk told 11Alive he was in shock and didn't know what to do.
His mother went on to say:
"My son has played football, he has played every sport, he is fully capable of defending himself."
"But he knew he could not defend himself."
"So he walked away."
"He walked away and still this man is chasing him with a belt."
"So now I am in a full panic because my kids are unprotected."
Viewers were disturbed and horrified by Martel's actions.
Several of the comments expressed disappointment—if not utter horror—Martel thought using physical violence against someone else's child on someone else's property was appropriate in this day and age.
Even with the charges Martel is facing, Maliyk and his cousins will not feel safe playing outside in their neighborhood for some time.
Latika Sim told 11Alive:
"Everybody else's kids are outside playing, so why can't my kids go outside and play, too."