Police in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday (July 17) announced the arrests of three people in connection to a viral video of a 12-year-old boy being physically and verbally abused while the word “gay” was trimmed into his hair.
“The video, recorded from an Instagram Live on June 17, appeared to show the young boy being struck by members of his family,” 11 Alive Atlanta writes. “It also appeared to show the word gay cut on the side of his head with clippers, supposedly as a punishment.”
After the video surfaced on social media, police found the child and suspects. Officers arrested Brittney Monique Mills, 35, Lorkeyla Jamia Spencer, 19, and Jarrode Richards-Nwankwo,18, the report says. Mills and Spencer were charged with cruelty to children, and Richards-Nwankwo has been charged with cruelty to children and battery–family violence, according to a statement from the Atlanta Police Department.
“The behavior in this social media post was difficult to watch and is absolutely unacceptable,” the statement reads. “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. 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.”
Authorities placed the child, whose name has not been released because he is a minor, in the care of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services on June 18. The child told city council candidate and activist Devin Barrington Ward that he “was emotionally stressed both from the experience and the idea of being removed from his home,” the report notes.
“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 tells 11 Alive. “If you saw that and you didn’t see anything wrong with that, you’re part of the problem."