MANATEE —A 14-year-old girl who was told to be quiet by a Marine and his wife on Christmas at a local theater during a movie has filed a battery complaint with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
But the sheriff's office will not pursue the complaint, saying there were inconsistencies in the girl's statement and that the case is closed.
“We investigated the complaint and there isn’t even enough there to send to the State Attorney’s Office,” said sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow.
Brittnee Collins, of Bradenton, filed a complaint Tuesday stating she was struck in the lip by an unknown man outside the Carmike Royal Palm 20 theater after words were exchanged with his wife, according to the sheriff’s office report.
Collins depicted a slightly different version of events after the Marine, 27-year-old Federico Freire, who is on a two-week leave from Afghanistan, and his wife, Kayln went public with their story.
Collins said in an interview with the Bradenton Herald that Freire and his wife were viewing the movie while her younger family members and she were getting up and down to get snacks.
Collins, who was sitting in front of Freire, said Freire told the youths to shut up and then reportedly told one of the juveniles he has was going to slit her throat.
“That’s when, I’m like, you don’t need to talk to her like that. She’s young,” Collins said.
Kayln Freire went to get the manager and the row of juveniles was subsequently kicked out of the theater. The teens contacted parents outside for a ride.
Collins said while waiting, Freire and his wife passed them.
“I don’t know what she said,” Collins said.
Collins then followed Kayln Freire and said, “‘Did you say something to me because I didn’t say anything to you.’ She gets in my face. She’s telling me that if I touch her she’s going to whoop my (butt).”
At that point Freire comes to get his wife and leaves.
Collins said Freire approached her in an aggressive manner and she closed her eyes.
“I just knew he was going to hit me,” she said.
She said 15-year-old twin brothers then struck the couple in her defense.
Collins said her father and uncle attempted to tell deputies about the incident, but a deputy responded by telling them they were going to jail.
Collins and none of her family members were arrested, but five other people were arrested in connection with the fracas.
“They weren’t talking to us,” she said when asked why they didn't report Freire's alleged actions sooner.
“They arrested the boys who hit him because he had hit me and that’s just the way it went. And then we left because other fights started breaking out.”
A deputy noted in the report there was no bruising on Collins’ lip when the report was filed Tuesday.
Freire described the allegations as “completely false.”
“I just grabbed my wife with both arms and pulled her out of harm’s way,” he said. “If she wants to file false charges, she can bring it. There were plenty of witnesses.”
Bristow said the girl’s complaint will be closed out.
”At this point, it will be a closed case," he said. "We talked to the girl and the stories are a little inconsistent. ... The girl said her eyes were closed. It doesn’t add up. Someone may have bumped into her or something like that. We don’t have any evidence that someone came up and punched her.”
Bristow also noted that there were a total of 10 moviegoers from the theater that night who complained about the group of teens.
Collins’ father, Leon Collins, said he plans to file a complaint with Florida Department of Law Enforcement and plans to schedule a rally at the sheriff’s office.