After a video of a boy being beaten up was posted to Facebook, police arrested three people and took two children into protective custody.
In the six-minute video, an 11-year-old boy is smacked in the face and hit with a belt more than 50 times. At least three adults watch the lashing happen in the video, and can be heard saying that the boy is being punished for posting false information on his Facebook page.
“Near the end of the video, the child was in obvious pain and he was squirming while being struck and still forced to hold onto the arms of the chair,” the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
At the end of the video, the boy is made to give his name and age for the camera.
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The beating happened on April 3 in a neighborhood on Flint’s east side.
“Officers went to that location with Child Protective Services and made the two arrests,” said Collin Birnie of the Flint police department.
Demitria Latrion Powell, the victim’s 28-year-old mother, Uteas Michelle Taylor, the boy’s 42-year-old godmother, and Stefon Tirrell Felton, the godmother’s 40-year-old boyfriend, have all reportedly been arrested. They are each facing charges of third degree child abuse, conspiracy to commit child abuse and child abuse committed in the presence of another child.
The 11-year-old boy and an infant are now in protective custody.
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The video sparked outrage over the weekend; it was shared more than 1,000 times before it was deleted from the boy’s Facebook page. As of Tuesday morning, the video had been shared more than 9,000 times total.
Birnie stated that the police found out about the incident through Facebook, explaining, “That’s why the police department has gotten it also. We have our own Facebook page now which helped us in this particular case.”
All child abuse charges are felonies in the state of Michigan.
“I watched the video and I was disturbed by it,” said David Leyton, Genesee County prosecutor.
“The law says that you can administer reasonable physical force upon a child for disciplinary purposes,” said Leyton. “I think this was unreasonable.”