Long Island police walk back statements that dozens of youths stood by and recorded video without helping while a 16-year-old stabbing victim bled to death

Khaseen Morris, 16, died after a brawl on Monday as his peers stood by and recorded on their phones, police said.

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Khaseen Morris, 16, died after a brawl on Monday as his peers stood by and recorded on their phones, police said.
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  • Long Island authorities now say that a 16-year-old stabbing victim who died last week had not been surrounded by “50, 60, 70” kids filming on their phones and refusing to help.
  • Khaseen Morris died September 16 after a major brawl outside a strip mall in Oceanside, New York.
  • Nassau County police now say that only 20 kids were watching the fight, as few as two filmed it, and at least 14 people sought to help by calling 911 during or after the fight, contradicting what authorities originally said.
  • A police spokesman told Insider there were, indeed, roughly 50 people or more at the scene during the brawl, but that figure included not only the youths involved, but also bystanders, storekeepers, and others.
  • The police commissioner told a community meeting on Tuesday that authorities had merely wanted to send an urgent message to youths to come forward with video evidence, but “it didn’t come across that way.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Authorities in Long Island are walking back statements they made last week saying a 16-year-old stabbing victim lay bleeding on the street while at least 50 youths stood by, filming on their phones, without helping.

At a community meeting on Tuesday, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder told hundreds of residents that police now believe only 20 kids watched the fight, as few as two filmed it, and at least 14 people called 911 during or after the brawl, Newsday reported.

The victim, Khaseen Morris, died in a hospital after the fight outside a strip mall in Oceanside, New York. Authorities have arrested and charged 18-year-old Tyler Flach in Morris’ death, and he has pleaded not guilty.

Read more: 4 black teens going door-to-door for a fundraiser say a white woman held them at gunpoint and threatened to shoot

But Ryder’s new characterization of the events differs wildly from original reports.

“They videoed his death instead of helping him,” Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick of the Nassau County Police Department had told reporters at a September 17 press conference, adding: “This can’t go on. Your friends are dying while you stand there and video it. That’s egregious.”

In fact, many people did step up to help Morris and phoned 911, Ryder said Tuesday. He added that authorities have only recovered two videos of the incident, but it’s possible there are more.

Authorities only wanted to send an urgent message to witnesses, but ‘it didn’t come across that way’

Brother of Khassen Morris, Khaleem, in tie dyed shirt on right, stands with friends and family as they mourn Oceanside, New York teenager Khaseen Morris, 16, during a vigil in front of the strip mall where he was killed on Brower Ave. in Oceanside on September 18, 2019.

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Brother of Khassen Morris, Khaleem, in tie dyed shirt on right, stands with friends and family as they mourn Oceanside, New York teenager Khaseen Morris, 16, during a vigil in front of the strip mall where he was killed on Brower Ave. in Oceanside on September 18, 2019.
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Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Fitzpatrick had also said, “There’s got to be about 50, 60, 70 kids here.”

A spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department told Insider on Thursday there were, indeed, roughly 50 people or more at the scene, but that figure included not only the teens involved in the brawl, but also adult bystanders, storekeepers, and others in the area.

He confirmed that 14 people called 911 about the incident, but not all identified themselves. It remains unclear how many of those calls came from the teens involved in the brawl, and how many were from others.

Ryder said Tuesday that when Fitzpatrick made the initial remarks, it was “a very emotional time, a very, very fluid time.”

Authorities had merely intended to send an urgent message to youths to come forward with video evidence, but “it didn’t come across that way,” Ryder said.

He added that authorities have only recovered two videos of the incident, but it’s possible there are more. He also said the two individuals who did eventually turn over videos to the police had not been forthcoming.

“Nobody volunteered those videos for us,” Ryder said. “We had to find them and get them.”