In what was described by many netizens as a blatant case of child a***e, a man was widely condemned for punching a toddler in the face inside a grocery store in Bakersfield, California. The suspect is said to be the father of the boy, according to the store owner, but the police has yet to confirm the nature of their relationship.
The brutal a***e was caught on the surveillance camera of Vest Market in Bakersfield. The clip has found its way to the social media and has since gone viral; leading to the arrest of the suspect.
In the short video, the man, later identified as 23-year-old Justin Whittington, can be seen chasing the boy between racks inside the store. He eventually caught the toddler and surprised him around a corner before throwing a hard smack right into the boy’s face, sending the youngster to the floor.
The poor toddler can be seen crying on the floor while holding his head in pain before Whittington lifted and dragged him by the shirt while yelling angrily at the hapless boy.
A pregnant woman, believed to the mother, suddenly came over and the boy quickly rans off to her. It was not known whether she saw Whittington punch her son.
The boy’s father
While the police did not immediately confirm that Whittington was indeed the boy’s father, Vest Market owner Harry Dindral told the NY Daily News he knew the suspect, and that the boy was indeed the suspect’s son.
Dindral said he was at the back of the store when his assistant called him to watch the footage. The police had obtained a copy of the clip and launched a manhunt for Whittington.
“It was the right thing to do,” he told the NY Daily News. “You don’t hit a child like that.”
Whittington was a******d on Friday at their home in Bakersfield. He was charged with “cruelty” and held for a bail of $1-M, but was later downgraded to “endangerment” and the bail was reduced to $20,000.
He posted the bail on Saturday and was released the next day. He is scheduled to appear before the court on April 24.
Meanwhile, the medical personnel who examined the child said the victim need not be hospitalized. It was not clear whether the boy will be placed under a new custody.
Watch the video below, but viewer’s discretion is advised due to the disturbing scenes: