An arrest has been made after disturbing video that allegedly showed a mother abusing her 3-year-old son in Colorado went viral on social media, police announced Thursday.
In the footage, a woman can be seen cursing and screaming at the crying toddler, and threatening multiple times to kill him, KMGH in Denver reported. The argument appeared to be over a lost charger.
The clip, posted to YouTube, went on for more than 16 minutes.
The incident took place at the woman’s home in Lochbuie, according to the television station, which spoke to the person who recorded the video.
“She kept going on and on that ‘I’m, you know, I’m a good mother,’ and I said this is not being a good mother,” the woman told KMGH.
She said she was living with the mom and son at the time of the incident. Her name has not been disclosed because she has received threats from the boy’s mother and others, according to the station.
The woman also witnessed the mother physically abusing the child when they all lived together, the station reported.
“In the play pen, she was actually physically beating him with her … fist, and she was beating him,” she recalled. “And then she grabbed the high chair — it sits on a seat a regular seat — and she grabbed it and she was pounding it on him like over and over and over again.”
She explained that she didn’t step in because she is disabled and also feared for her life and the life of her 17-year-old son.
“I wish I had called 911, but me and him were terrified, we were scared,” she said in the interview.
The woman told her friend to report the abuse to police, but decided ultimately to post footage of the abuse to Facebook after learning the toddler was still with his mother.
The video sparked outrage online, with a number of people forwarding it to police and television news stations.
KTLA sister station KDVR in Denver received dozens of emails from viewers expressing their concern over the toddler’s welfare. Those messages were sent on to authorities, who subsequently launched an investigation.
An arrests has been made and the child “is safe in protective custody,” the Lochbuie Police Department tweeted Thursday morning.
Police have not identified the person arrested, but KDVR reported that it was the child’s mother. She is being held on $6,000 bail for two counts of “cruelty toward child.”
The woman who shot the video was also charged with child abuse because she stood by and did nothing, the station reported.
Lochbuie police Chief Tracey McCoy initially confirmed the case was under investigation and was sent to the local district attorney’s office. Child Protective Services is also conducting its own investigation, he said.
The boy’s father just learned about the video this week, and is trying get custody of his son, according to KMGH.