23-year-old accused of strangling child in Brookline park

BROOKLINE, Mass. — A 23-year-old man faced a judge Thursday for allegedly strangling a child at a Brookline park on Memorial Day.

The incident happened in the middle of the day there were plenty of witnesses and one of them actually got some cell phone video that led to Christian Amaral's arrest, said police.

Police said he grabbed a 12-year-old boy by the throat and picked him up off the ground with such force that he was left breathless for about 30 seconds. The victim was playing with a hamster with some other children at the time, and Amaral told the kids not to hurt the animal before allegedly grabbing one of them.

A high school girl noticed Amaral acting strangely and had the forethought to pull out her cell phone and start recording. From that video, police got a still image, and the tips came pouring in.

Brookline Police Deputy Superintendent Michael Gropman said the whole situation was a unique one, and not just for Brookline.

“I think its out of the ordinary for any area," Gropman said. "You just don’t see people walking up to kids in a school playground, not doing anything, and assaulting them or hurting them for really no reason.”

The 23-year-old left court with a t-shirt over his head after answering to charges of assault and battery on a child under 14 and strangulation.