Police in Atlanta have arrested three people after a 12-year-old boy had “GAY” shaved into his head and was filmed being mocked and slapped.
The video, which quickly went viral last month, sparked outcry and led to the City of Atlanta Police Department launching an investigation, with the youth identified and placed into protective custody.
Lorkeyla Jamia Spencer, 19, Brittney Monique Mills, 35 and Jordan Jarrode Richards-Nwankwo, 18, have now all been charged with cruelty to children in relation to the incident. Richards-Nwankwo also faces a charge of family violence.
All three were held in Fulton County Jail following their arrest last week, with Richards-Nwankwo released on Sunday, July 18, the Washington Post reports.
In video of the incident, the youth is surrounded by family members who call him a “gay ass bitch” and accuse him of “doing gay shit.”
The video zooms in on the boy’s head, showing “GAY” has been shaved into his hair. A man in the video is also shown slapping and punching the boy.
“This was a difficult video to watch,” Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee told CBS 46. “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.”
He added: It was difficult to watch, and I think for a lot of the investigators, it was the same way.”
Prior to being placed in protective custody, a second video was uploaded to Instagram showing the same youth claiming that he was “good.”
“My brother and them, they didn’t abuse me,” he says in the video. “They were just showing me, like, you need to stop doing that.”
In the background, someone can be heard telling him to “say it.”
At the time of the original video, Devin Barrington-Ward, a local activist and candidate for city council, said his “heart was broken because I saw a piece of myself in that.”
“As a Black queer man, I have experienced some of the same homophobia and some of the same abuse by the hands of people that I love as a child,” Barrington-Ward said. “If you saw that and you didn’t see anything wrong with that, you’re part of the problem.”
Atlanta Police Department praised the community response to the video, which led to the youth being identified.
“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,” the department said in a statement.
“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.”
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