Anthony Gardiner, a 34-year-old resident of Pam Coast’s B Section, is facing charges of battery and disorderly conduct after he was caught in at least three videos shoving a child off of his son as the two children were fighting on a public sidewalk Monday afternoon—a fight Gardiner witnessed from the start, never attempted to stop, and may have instigated and encouraged as it unfolded.
The fight took place on the sidewalk of Belle Terre Parkway along Indian Trails Sports Complex and involved two Indian Trails Middle School students—one white, one black: during the fight, racial epithets are heard as the white child is egged on to punch the black child in the face. The white child is Gardiner’s son. The children are surrounded by other students and some parents. Remarkably, no one intervenes until Gardiner is seen shoving one of the children off his son, at which point the fight ends and Gardiner draws immediate and loud rebukes from several people.
Videos of the incident have been circulating on social media. Two have been turned into evidence at the Sheriff’s Office and forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office, along with a charging affidavit for Gardiner, a landscaper in town. It’ll be up to the State Attorney to decide whether to formalize the charges.
The incident took place Monday but gained broader attention through the web Tuesday, the same day that a 39-year-old man was found guilty of two counts of battery for punching a 16-year-old girl at Epic Theater in 2016, an incident similarly caught on video. In that case, there was just one video, more brief and less distinct in its detail, shot in dark light at night. The man had faced a felony child abuse charge that the jury lowered to simple battery. He has yet to be sentenced, and may face some jail time.
The incident involving the two Indian Trails Middle School students took place after school Monday around 2 p.m. and drew the attention of the school’s resource deputy and other law enforcement. A witness told one of the deputies that Gardiner “instigated the fight between the boys,” according to Gardiner’s charging affidavit. The two students had fought after school on March 8, when one child “got the better” of Gardiner’s son, according to the report. The school resource deputy determined that Gardiner’s son had been the aggressor Monday. That would be an issue school authorities would have to deal with.
But after the incident, a witness provided the deputy with a written statement “advising she observed a white male adult yelling at [the other child] in what appeared to be him [Gardiner] staging a fight for his son.” The witness states the two boys dropped their backpacks and began fighting. “During the fight it seems [one child] was getting the upper hand on [Gardiner’s son], and the Father (Anthony Gardiner) pushed [the boy off his son]. At that point she states several other parents surrounded Anthony to keep him away from [the child].”
On Tuesday, the school resource deputy and Justin Cronk, dean of students at Indian Trails, spoke with both boys. One of them said he’d been done with the incident after they had first fought, but claimed Gardiner’s son wanted to continue the matter. “He was walking to the park to catch his ride home when a grown man started yelling at him to fight his son,” according to the report. He said Gardiner’s son “walked up to him, dropped his backpack, and the fight began”. During the fight he said he was on top, and the grown man pushed him off and started making threats that he had a knife and was a police officer.
“Wait before my dad gets here,” one of the boys is heard saying in one of the videos.
“Fight him one on one right now, let’s go,” a man’s voice is heard saying. It’s not clear if it’s Gardiner’s. He is standing within a few feet of the boys, his arms crossed. “Swing at him. Start swinging at him.”
“We’ll settle this right now. We ain’t no bitches,” a voice says.
As Gardiner stands within a foot or two of the two boys, who by then are in fighting stance, one boy pushes Gardiner’s son in the chest, Gardiner’s son puts up his fists, then the two are in a clutch as Gardiner looks on. His son seems to sustain several punches or strikes. “Get him Dom, in the face Dom,” Gardiner yells, using a nickname for his son. “Hit that nigger,” a younger voice is heard saying. One voice is heard yelling in the distance, “hey, hey, hey!” in an attempt to verbally stop the fight. One of the boys appears to have the better of Gardiner’s son as they get nearer the edge of the sidewalk, prompting Gardiner to intervene and push him off.
Immediately children and adults rush closer and yell at Gardiner, themselves using obscenities at that point to admonish him. “You’re a parent,” a woman yells at him. Streams of obscenities follow.
“Hey, hey, you ain’t get the text my son got, you ain’t get the text my son got,” Gardiner yells back.
During the commotion the other child’s father arrives (shirtless) and calmly walks up to Gardiner, who doubles back and walks to meet the man. But neither of them is confrontational. Gardiner asks the man why the man’s son is sending text messages. There are a lot of arm gestures and finger-pointing, but the two men exchange statements more than arguments, and the other man before the end of the videos points to the people filming and tells Gardiner that it’s all live, all on social media. Then the two walk away, each with his son.
Contacted at the phone number recorded as his on the sheriff’s report, Gardiner’s girlfriend or wife answered, saying she was advising him against speaking with media for now, pending the outcome of the case. Asked about any texts, she said her son had received threatening ones from the other boy, and added that Gardiner intervened only because he was “trying to slow up the fight” before anyone got hurt.
Sheriff Rick Staly saw it differently. “Most parents would do everything within their power to prevent any harm coming to their child,” he was quoted as saying in a release his office issued today. “But this is a parent who actively encouraged violence between his son and
another child to solve a problem. Then, took it another step further and began fighting one of the kids himself. This is not how you teach your children problem solving skills.”
Concerned Citizen says
What’s wrong with adults these days? Seems like they all want to fight kids. I guess it’s cause they aren’t adult enough to deal with their own issues So they go for an easy target.
Maybe Gardiner and Nelson should face each other instead of beating on kids. Hopefully the judges start taking this stuff seriously..
Sounds like a couple of people falling through some cracks.
This is disgusting. I believe I would remove Mr. Gardner’s son from his home and possibly any other children residing there. Fighting and name calling should be grounds to get you booted from school and arrested for assault and battery. The Sheriff is right, parents keep their children safe, they don’t encourage this kind of stuff.
Jolene dehart says
That is horrific behaviour on the part of all the adults there.
Jimmy john says
These kids are out of control…to me it looks like he push the kid off his son to stop the fight???? These kids want to act grown until it looks bad on them then they hide behind oh I am a kid!!!!!
I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU FLAGLER COUNTY NEWBIES SAY! THIS PLACE HAS TURNED STRAIGHT GHETTO AND TRASHY!
Born and Raised Here says
What kind of parent would initiate an act of violence to be carried out by children, This man should be prosecuted to the fullest of the law for putting minors in danger, and possibly inciting a riot.
Josh Davis says
I do not condone violence at school. But am I the only one who would rather the boys fight it out, than someone shoot up the school? (If you’ve ever been involved in one) Fist fights hurt and no one wins. Boys figure it out and life goes on. Teenage male testosterone is real life folks. Set up a gym and let them box. There was no such thing as a school shooting when I was a kid. We have to let them learn how to figure it out without someone dying. A busted lip and a bruised ego is a valuable lesson. It’s called being a realist.
Loser parents create loser kids. Typical NY attitudes here another reason I’m leaving this town.
Steve Vanne says
Great role model. I bet he would of done nothing if his son had the upper hand. This grown man should be arrested. What an moron..
SIMple case of bad parenting and a Dad who thinks he is a tough guy. Nope! Just a grown up bully himslef
Josh, had either of the young men hit their head on the rock or concrete and died or just broke their neck or spine and couldn’t walk for the rest of his life how might you plan your defense for the other young man or the father that encouraged it?
The Truth says
Perhaps Mr Gardiner should consider the fact that he has a landscaping business and that these actions make him look like a fool. He acted like a child and was just as immature as these young boys, but he has no excuse.
Haw Creek Girl says
Oh my God. I have never heard a more ridiculous group of snowflakes. My daddy told me to never start a fight but never walk away from one either. All you people and your feelings and coddling kids are why we have school shooters and tide pod dinners. @Bornandraisedhere Palm Coast maybe but your roots aren’t from here!
Dawn Smith says
Hmmm, I wonder who the BULLY is???
What ever happened to sticks and stones,(may brake your bones, but names will never hurt you. OR keep your hands to yourself. What has happened to Society??
@ Josh Davis I agree. Maybe Anthony was being bullied at school and his father had enough and wanted his son to stand up for himself. No he should not have put his hands on any child. Put yourself in their shoes first before blaming the parents.
Child should be removed from the home of this parent no questions asked this is a bad bad situation for the young man to have to live in, this father will ruin this child’s life if he hadn’t done enough damage already
Fernando Melendez says
Let justice take it’s course, clearly a flagrant disregard for responsible parenting by Mr Gardner. If a community is to flourish, it’s starts with responsible parenting as the base.
This should come as no surprise, it is typical Palm Coast Ghetto activity.
Chris A Pickett says
Sad state of affairs.
This behavior was condoned by Obama throughout his term so why are so many people outraged NOW? Reap what you sow people!
In the seventies my son being about 10 years old I caught him fighting in the corner of the private school I sent him while living overseas, when I went to pick him up and a student told me he was in a fight with another kid outside school.
I rushed to them and saw real hard punches flying both ways….and a circle of other kids watching and cheering…immediately I got between both of them while just grabbing my son and putting my back to the other student while receiving from him couple of “honestly unintended punches directed elsewhere” in the heat of the moment.
Once I manage to calm them both down with the help of another running parent nearby, we both asked why they were fighting and my son red faced told us because, his classmate was all the time bullying, pushing around and calling names to the brother and sister attending class that were the children of the India Consul and the reason of the harassment was because their parents came to pick them up wearing their country traditional clothing. My son came out on the two Hindu kids defense.
We both parents told them that they should look into other ways than violence to resolve issues and also that no one is supposed to be singled out because the origin, religion or attire among other things.
The parents of my son contender got the story of the incident from the helping parent present and called me to appreciate my son for standing against her son given the reasons. Also in appreciation she gave mi son a grand farewell party as was the end of the year of our assignment overseas and we were coming back home. Finally these two contenders ended being good buddies writing each other after the farewell.
I let my son know that tough I approved of stopping the bully I was concerned about the method. He and others said he did not initiated it and was defending also himself while telling him to stop, to no, avail. That is why I heard him shouting stop, stop while also punching from the distance while running to them…
First off what Anthony done was wrong with that being said his son was being harassed and threatened by the other child and not the school nor law enforcement had done anything about it, Absolutely wrong to instigate it but you as a parent would have shoved or pulled the other kid off of yours when you knew they’d had enough, and lets not forget all of the other ADULTS standing around doing nothing to stop it, Anthony as well as his wife are great parents so for those of you who think the state should take their kids you’re absolutely ridiculous and are so quick to judge unless it was your child, in his eyes he was teaching his son to defend himself from a bully no matter how wrong it was, and all you see is a small video not what led up to it
Personal experience, son was in HS, after school going to soccer practice, he was ganged up on by a few, led by one kid he had words with in school. Happened a few times always 3-4 on one. Went to pick him up after practice, saw the kid in his car, said hey, here he is big man, one on one..so they fought it out, I watched, didn’t intervene, and after that guess what? The ganging up or by today’s standard “bullying” stopped. Big man when 3 friends were around, not so big standing alone. Case closed.
Trailer Bob says
Sometimes the only way to stop a bully is to fight him one on one. My God, you wonder why kids are using guns today. Hell, I got my butt kicked plenty of times as a kid. Never stopped until I knocked the toughest one out with one punch. Getting bullied sucks and leaves scars for life in many cases. OK, maybe he could have arranged for the dual to be in a gym with gloves and helmets on…but hey.
@alishia I knew that had to be the case because is as a parent have been in his shoes and I will not let anybody believe my child no he shouldn’t have touched the other child but he was teaching his child how to defend himself and I would have done the same exact thing. Any parent who lets their child get bullied is a POS. You are supposed to protect your children not let them be bullied. So if what he did is wrong in your eyes that’s just too damn bad what if it was your child? Apparently from all your responses you would do absolutely nothing because you think standing up for yourself is a bad idea so go ahead and move out of Flagler County but by no means should the state take their children. Do you know how many children are bullied and nothing is taken care of by the schools. It’s a shame they tried to sweep everything under the rug I know this because I dealt with it first-hand. I was called a dumb white girl from a black man who was a principal out of school because I called the police and made a report that my child was being bullied. The school is doing nothing and I’m glad he did what he did so his son will not hurt himself or be afraid. You people walk around with blinders it has nothing to do where they came from all of you like to use that as an excuse because you’re ignorant and it’s very sad
I would never let anybody hurt my children. And how come nobody mentioned the foul language that other parents were using around children????? Because that’s okay right?
I would bet money, this parent in the article who directed the fight , was a bully himself. Its fits the attitude and his tough guy persona.
@Josh Davis, With the greatest respect let me say that I hope you are not a father, for if this is your solution to school bullying, it sucks.
Surely we can motivate our kids better than this???? These kids don’t need to learn to fight, they need to learn to respect and allow another’s opinion.
I think all the parents should get charged for not stopping this fight
When I was in high school there was this bully going around tripping people. When he tripped me I turned around and hit him in the face and he fell to the ground. We became good friends after that. Following year I graduated and heard this same bully stab somebody. Don’t know what became of it.
Seriously! This “father” is nothing but a coward. Encouraging 2 kids to fight while he watches and then jumps in…….no words. Unbelievable!! Who does this??
Somebody needs to out tranquilizers in the water supply of the B Section.
Palm Coast…..sleepy little retirement community. LOL
For those of you who have the need to make negative nasty comments let me ask you a question. Do you have children that have been bullied? I guarantee none of you are going to answer. I say this because you have not been in the shoes of this man who is helping his child not get bullied. All of you are acting like a bunch of bullies grow up you people make me sick and it’s probably all you true Floridians who are making these nasty remarks.
Learning to fight for yourself means taking a whooping, this man wasn’t teaching his kid nothing, he jumped in once his kid started losing, that’s not a lesson of sticking up to bullies,that’s a lesson on how to be a chump