When a cop slaps a child is it an outrage, or just Outrage, Inc? (video)

This is a video of a police officer removing a child from his mother after a former boyfriend had reportedly obtained custody.

In the video, the ten year old boy bites the cop, and the cop slaps him (though not that hard, by the looks of it), and onlookers, including someone with a camera, are besides themselves with outrage.


My BS meter went off, so I did some googling, and here’s the rest of the story.

1. The “former boyfriend” is the child’s father. That’s a tad more than a “former boyfriend” of the mother.
2. The mother had been holding the boy, illegally, for several years against a court order. That’s called kidnapping. And the court order gives the mother no visiting rights, so it would be interesting to hear the details of exactly what happened to make the court decide that way.
3. Officers believe the boy has never attended school, and is illiterate. That’s called child abuse.

As for the outrage over the “slap,” I think some folks’ outrage-meter is a tad jumpy. The boy was hardly tased – hell, he was hardly slapped either, if you actually watch the video. (Would they have preferred the cop handcuff the kid?)

In fact, the cops did a darn good job in a difficult situation – child custody matters can’t be easy, and you always have to be respectful of the fact that the kid likely has no idea what’s actually going on.  If you watch the whole video, the police were incredibly restrained with everyone. And the mother, who had reportedly kidnapped the kid, was hardly helping matters any.

As for the crowd watching, this is a perfect example of why it’s good to look for the rest of the story before just assuming “outrage.” Sometimes outrage is justified. Sometimes it’s not.  If anything, the police are lucky they had the video to disprove false allegations of how they handled the situation.

Anyway, I just thought this was an interesting look at a case of “outrage” in the age of “citizen journalism.”  This is one more example of why people with cell phone videos can’t replace real journalists.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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