Police arrest man accused of slapping teen

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Police arrested a man they say slapped a 13-year-old boy inside a convenience store in Rotterdam.

Joel Malek, 38, of Schenectady, N.Y., was arrested on Friday at his home without incident. He is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of harassment.

The incident occurred a couple weeks ago. It was around 6 p.m. Two teenagers were riding their bikes, and they told police a driver swerved at them. The driver thought differently.

On security video, the man confronts the two teens inside the Sunoco store on Burdeck Street. He then viciously smacks one of them across the face.

“When I looked at the video, I was absolutely stunned. Shocked,” store owner Lisa Farone said.

Farone wasn’t working at the time, but she knows the kids. One comes in almost daily.

“They come here for water when they’re thirsty,” she said. “Their parents come here often. These are good kids.”

Police said the man was driving a black SUV.

“He was upset with something they had done on the roadway or something that he felt they did on the roadway,” Rotterdam Police Lt. Jeffrey Collins said. “I mean, this type of behavior is completely unacceptable. Regardless of how angry you get or how wrong you think somebody is, to react in a physical manner like that will result in criminal charges.”

Farone is in disbelief that someone would come into her store for nothing other than violence.

“It’s a classic case of bullying,” she said. “He had no other agenda other than to really slap hard a young boy.”

Malek was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

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