by Bria King
In their quest to create viral social media content with a kidnapping prank video, the actions of Vincentian YouTubers could have resulted in at least a one-year prison sentence.
But Commissioner of Police Colin John told SEARCHLIGHT that the youths, who were picked up by police yesterday morning, will likely be released with only a stern warning.
“Anything could have happened. Persons could have been injured as a result, persons could have been fearful and in an effort to escape, injured themselves…all those things,” John said yesterday.
The YouTubers were picked up by police, following an interview on Hot97 where they were attempting to explain the reasoning behind the video.
The video of the ‘prank’, titled ‘SOCIAL EXPERIMENT|KIDNAPPING IN BROAD DAYLIGHT’, was posted to the YouTube Channel God’s Angel, on Sunday, August 23, and up to press time had garnered over 7000 views on the streaming platform.
In the video, a woman is abducted from the side of the road in three separate instances: in the vicinity of Massy Stores and Options Supermarket in Arnos Vale and at a roadside bar in Chauncey and hauled into the back of a black Suzuki Swift.
One of her abductors can be seen in the video brandishing what looks like a firearm, as the other hauls the screaming woman to the vehicle within seconds of it driving away from the scene.
In the video posted on the God’s Angel YouTube channel, a disclaimer was issued in the description bar and at the end of the video by the young woman, that “the gun was a toy gun that I sprayed over”.
“I’m really sorry for those people who thought it was real. I’m truly, truly sorry but I’m a YouTuber….for the people who said this was a bad idea or…I went too far, keep in mind that I am a YouTuber…these are things I do,” she said.
“The only thing I have to say is that if you have anything negative to say, you’re just small minded. Me na going take that back because if you watch overseas, people do more dangerous pranks than this…”
Prior to the actual video being released, footage of the incident captured on a surveillance camera in the vicinity of Randy’s Supermarket began making the rounds on social media, which caused alarm among the public and speculations about whether the incident was a robbery or kidnapping.
The Commissioner of Police said yesterday that the perpetrators could have been charged with causing an alarm.
For the imitation firearm used in the video, the Vincentian YouTubers could have also been charged with possession of an offensive weapon, which attracts a one-year prison sentence.
“I would just encourage the public not to engage in these kinds of activities,” John said.
He noted that if an individual wishes to film any movie or video of this nature, they should first seek the advice of the police so the authorities can advise them accordingly.
One of the actors in the video, who goes by the name Jah Carleon and runs a YouTube channel under the same name, shared his thoughts on the matter in a video he uploaded yesterday morning.
“…God’s Angel hit me up to do a video. So me say what the video about? She say she want to do a public kidnapping video and thing and me say alright, sounds like a good idea,” he said.
Jah Carleon said the video was picked up by a local news media outlet, which he contacted to explain that the video was a social experiment.
The YouTuber, who was accompanied by another young man in his video, commented that local news media should not be trusted.
“Bare fake news…so when me see that video ah circulate, me contact Angel and say yo, better we just run with it dawg because YouTube build off of controversy. People ah go view it and thing same way. More views for the video…” Jah Carleon said in his video, which was posted yesterday.
Social experiment videos are a popular trend on the streaming platform, with many channels around the world gaining popularity from videos of this nature alone.
Popular kidnapping or abduction social experiment videos posted on YouTube within the past 10 years have garnered up to 14 million views.
Vincentians have had mixed reactions to the kidnapping prank video. While many considered it to be funny and entertaining, others thought it reckless as persons, including the actors, could have been hurt in the process.
“Lord, I would of roll way…u got a new subscriber,” one person commented on God’s Angel’s video.
Another person wrote: “Lmao, the first part had me laughing real hard”.
A YouTube user also said “Like the positive vibes rep…”
One user by the name of Jay John said “Allyo want ppl kill allyo”.
Others expressed similar notions, commenting “Tbh, don’t know how to feel about this one…” and “keep your content but next time, don’t use a gun…”
The Commissioner of Police, told SEARCHLIGHT that the authorities received several reports of the incident following the filming of the video on the weekend.
While he could not recall ever having to deal with a matter like this one in recent times, he thanked the public for bringing the matter to the fore.