"The Thug Cycle"? Video of a Black Child in Omaha Stirs Controversy

The police association says it is trying to display the difficulty of a young child’s life while some Black leaders say the video is patently offensive.

Posted: 01/07/2014 04:56 PM EST

(Photo: Courtesy of Omaha Police Officers Association)

The Omaha Police Officers Association has drawn a good deal of outrage after it posted a video of an African-American toddler in a clip it calls “The Thug Cycle.”

The video shows a young Black child wearing a diaper with adults speaking in the background, urging the young man to respond to them with profanity and sexual comments.

John Wells, the president of the Omaha police association, said the video serves as an example of how the cycle of violence and “thuggery” continues in that city.

“We knew that despite the fact that it is sickening, heartbreaking footage, we have an obligation to share it to continue to educate the law-abiding public about the terrible cycle of violence and thuggery that some young innocent children find themselves helplessly trapped in,” the police union blog post said.

But others in Omaha see it far differently.

“We’re outraged by this, especially because it comes from the police and it presents such a terrible depiction of our community,” said Willie Hamilton, executive director of Black Men United in Omaha, in an interview with BET.com.

“This is something that has many in our community very upset and it doesn’t foster the best relationship between the Black community and the police department,” Hamilton said.

Black residents make up about 13 percent of Omaha's population.

“We will be meeting with other organizations later this week and we plan to take some kind of action. It may be that we picket the police association. But, as a community, we must take a stand.”

The police association said that there was no illegal activity displayed in the video, but it was clear that the child is not being raised in a healthy environment.

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