Swearing toddler in ‘thug’ video taken into protective custody

 (CNN) — A Nebraska toddler who repeated a slew of profanities in an online video has been taken into child protective custody, Omaha police said Wednesday.

While authorities found nothing criminal in the video, officials from the Omaha police’s Child Victim Unit and the Nebraska Child Protective Services took the infant and three other children into custody on Wednesday, the police department said on its Facebook page.

The joint investigation found safety concerns, the statement said.

CNN learned of development through Twitter.

In the video, the diapered child is bombarded with obscenities and racial slurs by the adults around him.

The African-American toddler knocks down a chair and gives nearly as good as he gets, responding to some of the comments with an upraised middle finger and telling one of the adults at one point, “Shut up, b—-.” The adults laugh and prompt him to repeat other crudities.

Just another day on the Internet — until the police union in Omaha, Nebraska, posted the clip on its website to highlight what it called the “cycle of violence and thuggery” the community faces.

The Omaha Police Officers Association came under fire from the city’s police chief, the ACLU and at least one community leader. They say the move needlessly antagonizes the city’s minority communities, who make up about a quarter of Omaha’s 409,000 residents.

Sgt. John Wells, the union’s president, said the video was “disturbing” and “offensive.”

“The focus here isn’t on any particular ethnic group. The focus here is on the troubling behavior towards this child,” Wells said. “This behavior is going to potentially lead this child down a path that is completely unhealthy.”

On the website where the video is hosted, the union said the clip came from “a local thug’s public Facebook page.”

“We here at OmahaPOA.com viewed the video and we knew that despite the fact that it is sickening, heartbreaking footage, we have an obligation to share it to continue to educate the law abiding public about the terrible cycle of violence and thuggery that some young innocent children find themselves helplessly trapped in,” the police union wrote in a post accompanying the video.

“Now while we didn’t see anything in this video that is blatantly ‘illegal,’ we sure did see a lot that is flat out immoral and completely unhealthy for this little child from a healthy upbringing standpoint,” it added.

Wells said one of the adults mentions a local street gang in the video.

“That is why when we talk about the culture, the criminal culture, that this is to try to break the cycle and deal with the culture of violence and the culture of gang activity,” he said.

But in a city where police officers’ treatment of minorities led to lawsuits, criminal charges against two officers and the firings and reassignments of several others in the past year, critics say the video is poking at raw wounds. Willie Hamilton, president of the community activist group Black Men United, said the union “crossed a line by doing this.”

“For them to take a video out of context — a 2-year-old who doesn’t have the brain capacity to know what’s going on — and to say that this child, because two adults acted inappropriately, is going to end up in a life of crime is totally inappropriate,” Hamilton said.

And the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, which filed an excessive-force suit against the Omaha Police Department on behalf of an African-American family on Monday, said the union’s use of “racially charged language” was “very disconcerting.”

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer tried to distance his agency from the controversy in a statement issued Tuesday, saying that the union’s website and Facebook page are separate from those of the Omaha Police Department and that he has little authority over the public statements of union members.

“With that background and understanding, I want to make it explicit and clear that the views expressed on the OPOA Facebook page do not necessarily reflect the official stance of the Omaha Police Department,” Schmaderer said. “I strongly disagree with any postings that may cause a divide in our community or an obstacle to police community relations.”

Wells said union members have turned the video over to the department’s child victim unit, which will work with child-welfare agencies to investigate the circumstances. He said the organization “didn’t think we’d get this big of a reaction.”

“Hopefully, the impact is, it gives law-abiding citizens what law enforcement deals with on a daily basis, and it sort of throws back the blinders that these type of problems are going on,” he said. “And we can have a very frank and open discussion on how to tackle these issues and come up with solutions.”

10 comments

  • judy

    from the story-
    “… and to say that this child, because two adults acted inappropriately, is going to end up in a life of crime is totally inappropriate,” Hamilton said….”
    I say bull! That is exactly what this is going to lead to. You see the results of this behaviour daily! What – do you think these idiot parents are going to change their ways at some point?
    Heck no. The behaviours are only going to get worse!

  • Evey S.

    A child learns what he lives…. they aren’t born hateful, racist, foul-mouthed, disrespectful. Children crave guidance, acceptance, approval, love. They need to feel secure and know somebody cares. This world’s too harsh as it is, as parents, our job is to guide our kids to become the best adults they can be: when we are done with them, the rest of the world has to deal with them.

  • Phillip Bell

    Cops out of control, here. It’s their job to enforce the law, not make assumptions about what people might turn out like. Next, they’ll be taking your children who sing popular “thug” music that they hear on the radio, or wear their older siblings clothes that are too big and make them look like gangsters. You might not like how these people are raising their children, but it’s not your place to tell them how, and it’s not their place to tell you how to raise yours.

  • Publius Too (@PubliusToo)

    “Now while we didn’t see anything in this video that is blatantly ‘illegal,’ we sure did see a lot that is flat out immoral and completely unhealthy for this little child from a healthy upbringing standpoint”

    Since when are police the arbiters of morality and healthy upbringing? Do we really want them to be?

  • Herman

    All I have to say is kids need great examples, and a kid that use language at that age I am sure the elementary teachers in this kids district will not welcome kids raised at home with this kind of “cute” playing, also parents that teach their kids not to use profane language agree that the parents actions are deplorable. To the parents, give me an update 10 years from today. I pray all is well.

  • Carla

    Give these people back their child! Words are just that, words…it’s their decision what words their child learns.

  • Sharon Vinal

    Children are a gift. And no child should have to live like that. One day these people will meet their maker and he will be the judge and jury! They should be more afraid of that than any prison sentence’

  • Brooke Burkett

    While I don’t know what they discovered they made them legally able to take the children out of this situation, I’m glad they did. I can’t believe there are people here calling the police racist or assuming this kid will turn out fine.

Comments are closed.

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