Cursing Toddler: Protective Custody After Viral VidBy: Toni Matthews-El - January 9, 2014
A police union in Omaha, Nebraska had found itself at the center of racial controversy over a video they posted featuring an African American toddler. In the video, the diapered little boy was encouraged by his adult family members to swear, make gang signs, and there were even sexual references made.
Some African Americans were upset at what they felt was the stereotyping of the African American household: Why didn’t the police union shine a light on dysfunctional white households as well? There was concern that the message being sent was a one-sided affair, and that the posting of the video was a poor way of dealing with the problems presented by the footage.
The police union defended the decision to share the video, stating that the footage highlighted “cycle of violence and thuggery” that the local African American community faces. They felt by calling out the behavior of the adults towards their young children would generate dialogue that would shed light on the issue.
Still, many more who viewed the now viral video had a much less racially-charged concern regarding the content: Was this little boy being abused? The language in the video directed at and encouraged in the child is wildly inappropriate, especially in terms of sexuality. There was anger at the video being shared without any perceived intention of investigating by the authorities.
It has now been reported by Omaha police that the toddler and his three siblings have been removed from his home and placed in protective custody. The police department stated that the video was viewed with prosecutors who determined based on the footage, no laws were broken. However, Child Protective Services felt that there was enough to suggest safety concerns. These concerns resulted in the children being taken away.
Was the child’s removal an attempt to save face or a response to a serious threat? This will certainly be a matter of heavy debate. What should not be up for debate is that what was in the video was disturbing and unfortunate and a poor reflection on the adults involved.
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