Swearing toddler in ‘thug’ video taken into protective custody

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(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, 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."

CNN's Joseph Netto, Casey Wian and Jack Hannah contributed to this report.


  • One in a Million

    “a 2-year-old who doesn’t have the brain capacity to know what’s going on”

    WRONG! 2 year olds are very smart, their brains are like sponges, what you are teaching them now WILL stick with them! This is a form of abuse and they are setting this child up to fail in life. if this is going on at 2 imagine when the child is 5…10…15. He desrves a chance at a decent life and if “parents” cannot give him a proper life and teach him right from wrong what will he grow up to be? Exactly what the police said….another thug…a waste! Police here should look into some of these Milwaukee families as well…they do the same with their children, some of them worse than the child in this video.

  • triplea

    Romney’s adopted child took a wrong path huh? Just a joke, please don’t make me apologize. Lol, sometimes you have to laugh in order to prevent the onset of clinical insanity. What the expletive is wrong with people? This is why there should be forced education in this country, so that we can prevent stupid people from having children. Graduating with at least an associates degree should be law in this country, failure to comply should result in confinement where the degree will be forced on you any way. Knowledge is the nemesis of ignorance, and this is the result of ignorance in abundance. SMH, sad, poor little guy!

    • Richard Burger

      I do not believe at all in a forced education and that is exactly what Obama is doing.

      Where does parental responsibility come in here?

  • Sparkles

    Everything a child, any child, experiences follows with them into adulthood. Race, gender, and culture aside this child is learning unhealthy patterns that will affect his choices and possibilities later in life. A parent is a role model and is charged with the responsibility of teaching their child right from wrong, morals, ethics, and the right way to treat themselves and others. This poor child is surrounded by negativity and his road will be very rocky. Why does society feel that everything is a racial issue when it is often a parental issue?

  • Paul H (PH)

    Wow, nice how the community turned on the police union. It is the police union’s fault, for this video. Not the parents. I mean swearing and insulting a 2 year old and then laughing at his response, I guess that is acceptable parenting, right?

  • J Peezy

    Gotta love the other fantasy world Faux viewers shoot their unrealized spouts off at. With zero reality checks. This little guy is one in million, and CPS/Foster Care is not the answer and will make things far worse. So this is a bit a disturbing, get that. But pouring gas on the barn fire is never the solution. And punishing the kid instead of perhaps working with the black community and an appropriate representative to get these parents into some child rearing courses, seals the deal on your utterly insensitive and ignorant outrage. The only you’re fair and balanced on is burning bridges to any situation you never wanted to really fix in the first place. But please, don’t stop your proselytizing “I know best, even for people I don’t wanna understand”, peanut gallery whining on my account.

  • Audwin Short

    This is why the Black community doesn’t like or trust police. What was posting this video supposed to do? Make black people run and give cops a hug? CPS will run into a African-American homes in a minute, but child beauty pageants and racist duck hunters get their own show…

    • K.burtton

      Mind you…when white girls finalllllly!!! stopped going to another state or country when they were teenaged and pregnant…they get an entire reality show…..

  • Whatever..

    Oh please! Crappy parents and they deserve to have the kid(s) taken. So sick of excuses over ignorant people! Nobody is attacking them. they did this to themselves. I’m sure they will have to go through a bunch of parenting classes to get their kids back, but doubt it will help any.

  • Jessica

    A two year old completely knows what is going on and he will almost definitely go down a wrong path in life if this were to continue. People like that make me so sick.

  • Nameless

    I was reading on yahoo news and the mother of this 2 yr old is only 16, that means she was 14 when she got pregnant. Seems as if her own mother wasen’t doing her job. She is a child rasing a child. Sad situation any way you look at this, taking the child away will not solve the issue, find another way to break this horrible practice in ALL cultures because every culture has nutty people that do dumb things, some even worse than what we see in this video.

  • mother

    This is simple. A child repeats what they hear no matter what race they are! Taking the child from these idiots was the best thing to do!! It will solve the issue!!!!!!!! Open your eyes people.

  • Todd

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