Medford police Wednesday launched a criminal investigation into whether a teenager's apparent harassment of "Downtown Dan" Doty captured on a video widely viewed on social media this week may constitute a crime.

Medford police Wednesday launched a criminal investigation into whether a teenager's apparent harassment of "Downtown Dan" Doty captured on a video widely viewed on social media this week may constitute a crime.

The short video posted Monday on a teenager's Facebook page shows another teenager appearing to taunt and attempt to goad Doty into a fight, triggering outrage among Medford's Facebook community.

The video went viral locally, triggering harsh words from social-media users and angry calls to police in defense of Doty — an iconic Medford resident who strolls the streets chatting up passers-by and panhandling.

Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said that, based on the video, police are looking into whether the incident could lead to possible criminal charges of second-degree intimidation, as well as harassment and disorderly conduct.

The second-degree intimidation charge is a Class A misdemeanor and the most serious of those considered. A person can commit the crime if the victim falls into one of several categories, including disabled.

Doty, 53, has fought mental illness throughout his life and suffered a severe brain injury as a 6-year-old when he was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle in his hometown of Coos Bay, according to family members and medical records obtained by the Mail Tribune for a 2007 profile of Doty.

Police believe the video was shot Sunday in Fichtner-Mainwaring Park, Budreau said.

Officers have identified the suspect but were barred from interviewing him, Budreau said.

"His parents won't allow us to speak with him, so we will not get an interview with him at this point," Budreau said.

Investigators hope to interview others believed to be present during the incident, Budreau said.

Investigators already have interviewed Doty, who told police he was embarrassed by the video and was unwilling to press charges against the teen, Budreau said. Police, however, do not need Doty's permission or cooperation to proceed.

"It somewhat complicates the case," Budreau said. "But it doesn't mean there wasn't a crime."

The video has spawned scores of Facebook comments condemning the teen's treatment of Doty.

"We've all known Dan forever and he's a kind person," said Michelle Bolinger, of Medford. "There's no excuse for this kind of behavior.

"This kid is, obviously, not the only kid to do things like this," Bolinger told the Mail Tribune. "This happens a lot."

Attempts to reach the teen identified in social media posts and his mother were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Doty could not be located Wednesday for comment.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.