Swearing toddler in ‘thug’ video taken into protective custody

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swearingtoddlerA 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, bitch.” 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.”



TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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  • Joney

    Honestly this makes me so sad for this child.
    The police didn't find anything illegal! How about child abuse? These idiots are so caught up in their negative living they don't even want something better for their child…where the hell is the mother, I'd slap her for sure! I am praying these children never be returned! And of course they play the race card! REALLY? Get a grip and an education people!

  • GenerationBRAIN

    I 100% agree that the negligence displayed in this video is extremely disheartening, however I do not believe that a "race card" is being played on behalf of those who think this organization went too far in their description of the situation. The point is, at least in what we believe to be the American criminal justice system, any case involving illegal or unsavory behavior should be judged solely on a case to case basis. You cannot take one incident and paint it as a threat to an entire community's way of life. So, although I think legal action should be taken against this family, the statements of this union are way out of line, because they ARE racially charged. And what justifies that? People's uninformed beliefs that such behavior is ONLY associated with Black people? Anyone who believes that is just as ignorant as the people in this video. If after the economic crisis we started saying that people who aren't poor are threatening our way of life and that White Collar crime is something we all need to fight, and that "Rich Guys" (a very fine and racially vague term that, in many cases, could be taken to mean "White Guys") are dangerous, it would be just as stupid. We need to fight ALL crime, period. Being Black, I can tell you that some Black people do associate the term "Rich Guy" with "White Guy" and some may even use them interchangeably. Why am I making a point of this? Because I also grew up in the suburbs and know that 9 times out of 10 when a White person uses the word "Thug", they really mean "Black". But of course you can't just come out and say that, because for race baiting to be successful today, it has to be subtle. Anything too obvious will be immediately shut down by a all-to-eager-to-be-politically-correct public. So if "thugs" are a problem, we need to watch out for Italians, the Irish and many other groups who were once closely associated with the word along their path to assimilate themselves into American culture – and by the way, despite what many of you would like to believe about crime, if you educate yourselves, especially about the Prohibition era of American history, crime and the lifestyle associated with it was an epidemic throughout many European communities taking their first steps in America. In fact, America couldn't even be America without crime. Also keep in mind that Black people basically JUST got their rights…what – 30 something years ago? When my own mother was a child? Progress takes time folks. And it takes even more time when everyone else has a hundred year head start. Anyone can post a witty comment anonymously on a website. But how many of you will really say something thought provoking instead of constantly telling others to educate themselves? Perhaps we should stop trying to always be "correct" in the now, and think a little more intellectually for the long term. If you're not adding to the conversation intellectually, then go watch whatever reality television show is projecting whatever version of reality you prefer. Of course there will be yet another witty remark after this – probably irrelevant, probably offensive to someone. To that I give a preemptive "lol" and "haha". Or maybe someone will continue the conversation in a productive manner. It's only your children's future after all….