Three adults have been arrested and charged with whipping an 11-year-old boy and posting a video of the vicious beating on Facebook.
The boy’s mother, Demitria Latrion Powell, 28, his godmother, Uteas Michelle Taylor, 42, and Stefon Tirrell Felton, the godmother’s 40-year-old boyfriend, were charged Tuesday with third degree child abuse, conspiracy to commit child abuse, and child abuse committed in the presence of another child, CBS Detroit reports.
The video shows Taylor forcing the boy to hold onto the arms of a chair while she whipped him with a belt. Felton held the camera and Powell struck the boy repeatedly in the face.
Police were made aware of the assault by several concerned Facebook users who viewed the video which was posted on the child’s own Facebook wall.
“Throughout the beating, the adults admonished the child for his behavior and warnings were given that he not get involved with gang activity,” a police statement read. “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.”
Police said others in the room witnessed the entire incident, including a 2-year-old baby.
“The adults in this case clearly went beyond what is a reasonable level of ‘parental discipline,’” Prosecutor David Leyton said. “What the video in this case reveals is a group of adults whose actions were a criminal assault against a child and that behavior cannot be condoned nor allowed under the law.”
Most of the black Facebook users who reposted the video on their timelines saw the beating as justified punishment. Some users cited archaic and outdated bible scripture which instructs parents to “spare the rod, spoil the child” when discipling children as young as 2.
Whipping and the violence that it breeds is a cultural and religious tradition that traces its roots to slavery.
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