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Three adults have been charged with child cruelty after footage of a homophobic attack against a 12-year-old boy was circulated online.
The Atlanta Police Department arrested and charged Jordan Jarrode Richards-Nwankwo, 18, Lorkeyla Jamia Spencer, 19, and Brittney Monique Mills, 35, over the video, which was reportedly uploaded to Instagram Live by the 12-year-old’s mother.
The footage reportedly showed a man grabbing the child, who has been named only as Tyler, by his T-shirt while questioning him about his sexuality. When the young boy did not respond, the adult appeared to hit him, pushing him on to the ground and then against a rail.
Tyler was reportedly slapped and verbally abused in the video, with the assailants saying they were ‘punishing’ him for doing ‘gay sh*t’. According to Pink News, they also shaved the word ‘gay’ on to the side of his head.
Authorities made efforts to identify Tyler when the video went viral, after which he was taken into protective care with the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services.
In a statement released after the arrests of the three adults, Atlanta police described the behaviour seen in the video as ‘difficult to watch’ and ‘absolutely unacceptable’.
Officers said they were ‘pleased’ they had been able to find and charge the people in the video, adding:
We are appreciative of the number of people who flagged this case with us and for those who provided information on the location where it took place.
Our investigators worked hard to identify those involved and to gather the evidence needed to place each behind bars and we are thankful for their work.
Sgt. John Chafee, of the Atlanta Police Department, told Fox 5 Atlanta investigators were made aware of the video, in which it ‘appeared that [Tyler] was being abused because of his sexual orientation’.
When you see someone, you know, I have a child, and when you see a young person being abused like this, I mean this is just so unnecessary. It was difficult to watch. And I think with a lot of the investigators it was the same way.
There is a lot of work that goes into the back… into the background of these cases because we don’t want to just, ‘Okay, I this is the person and I am going to go ahead and charge them.’ We got to present evidence in court otherwise our charges mean nothing.
All three adults were booked into the Fulton County jail following their arrests last week. As well as being charged with cruelty to children, Richards-Nwankwo also faces an additional charge of battery.
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