We perish because we know not… #TLENews
KERO-TV reports 23-year-old Justin Whittington of Bakersfield, California was taken into custody on Thursday night on suspicion of child endangerment after the video of the alleged abuse surfaced online.
The relationship between the toddler and Whittington has not yet been revealed by police but the owner of Vest Market Harry Dindral said the man was the boy’s father and said that he’s seen them in the store together before.
The video posted to social media and shared thousands of times shows a boy running through Vest Market. The toddler is approached by a man believed to be his father who hits him in the face. The man then is then shown aggressively yanking up the toddler by his shirt. A pregnant woman, can be seen coming and taking the distraught boy away. The child appears to leave the store crying and covering his face. The police were notified of the video after it was leaked online. They asked the public for help identifying the man in the video who ruthlessly punched the small child.
By midnight, the man who was caught on video punching the toddler, 23-year-old Justin Whittington, was in police custody. The Kern County Jail website showed Whittington remained behind bars on Friday with bail set at $1 million. ‘That was horrible, man,’ owner of Vest Market Harry Dindral told the Daily News. ‘The worst thing I’ve ever seen,’ he said of the incident at his establishment. Dindral says he was in the back of the store when his employee ran to him and told him to watch the surveillance video to see if there was any proof of the violent assault.
Dindral later gave the footage to cops who were able to track down the suspect. ‘It was the right thing to do,’ Dindral told the Daily News. ‘You don’t hit a child like that.’ Local Tattoo artist Chris Danaher who works near the market said he could never fathom acting violently towards a child.
‘I would never imagine treating a child like that,’ Danaher told ABC.
‘His wife or girlfriend or whatever was clearly pregnant. She had no regard to it. She picked up her son and left the store,’ he added. Danher said sadly the child is too young to truly understand what is going on. ‘It’s terrible. That kid is obviously too young to know what was going on. Honestly, couldn’t be more than 3 years old, and I just couldn’t imagine anyone doing that to me or me doing that to a child whatsoever,’ said Danaher.
The boy was later examined by medical personnel at his home and he did not require hospitalization. It is unknown whether or not he will be placed in new custody.
A second video released on Friday shows Whittington allegedly picking up his son like a rag doll.
The potential child abuse case is currently under investigation.