The Omaha Police Officers Association's handling of a viral video of a toddler spotlights the troubled relationship between the local police force and minority communities, the ACLU says.
A toddler seen babbling a litany of obscenities while adults goaded him on in a video that went viral has been taken into protective custody, police in Omaha, Neb., said on Wednesday. But while the video itself has generated plenty of commentary, a civil rights group says the police union's handling of the incident spotlights a troubled relationship between the local police force and minority communities, as well as bears possible racist undertones.
In the video, an African-American toddler wearing just a diaper pushes over a chair, waves his middle finger, and repeats the obscenities and racial slurs that adult male and female voices, heard in the background, encourage him to say. The adults laugh each time the child parrots the profanities.
The video was first posted on the Facebook page of a man that the Omaha Police Officers Association (OPOA) called “a local thug.” It went viral when the police union reposted the video, under the title the “Thug Cycle,” on its website and Facebook page, calling the “heartbreaking and sickening footage” an example of the “terrible cycle of violence and thuggery” that local police officers battle.
“Now while we didn’t see anything in this video that is blatantly ‘illegal,’ ” the union wrote, “we sure did see a lot that is flat out immoral and completely unhealthy for this little child from a healthy upbringing standpoint.”
Viewers reacted to the video with outrage – but not just at the adults egging the child on. They also had vitriol for the police union that had reposted the video.