OMAHA POLICE UNION UNDER FIRE FOR USE OF “TODDLER VIDEO”

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OMAHA, Nebraska | DMN — The Omaha Police Officers Association in Nebraska has come under extreme criticism after it posted a video of an African-American toddler uttering profanities to use as an example of ‘the thug cycle’. The diapered child is seen in a phone camera video taken by two purported relatives who are swearing at each other and the child and teaching him to swear back. ‘… 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,’ said the post on their website.

The website states: ‘Now while we didn’t see anything in this video that is blatantly ‘illegal’, we sure did see a lot that is flat-out immoral and completely unhealthy for this little child from a healthy upbringing standpoint.’ The post tells the public that they are ‘literally watching “the cycle” of violence continue right in front of your eyes. A powerful cycle that must be broken if we ever hope to get a handle on violence in Omaha. A powerful cycle that the police alone cannot stop.’  The so-called ‘thug’ who posted the video of the toddler has lashed back in a comment on the police association’s Facebook page, which has not done him any favors as it’s laced with f-word bombs.

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Union President John Wells, who is a sergeant in the Omaha Police Department, told Gawker that they use the term ‘thug’ as a ‘general term on our Facebook page’, but that it could be substituted by a variety of other terms including ‘abnormal, antisocial, criminal’. However, many people have taken to social media to criticize the move. One user, Joshua David, said on the union’s Facebook page: ‘As a union employee and member, I’m ashamed that this post exists. Not because of the video, but because of the racism. But hey, at least he’ll learn early that he’s nothing but an n-word to society.’

Defending their action of posting the video of the toddler and likening it to violence, Wells said that ‘a lot of these children end up dealing with law enforcement’.  ‘[But] I’m not saying that this kid won’t grow up to be a productive member of society.’ The post called the video’s creator, who is reportedly the toddler’s uncle, a ‘local thug’, but Wells said: ‘I don’t know that he’s a gangbanger… he mentions 29th Street, which is a local Bloods gang here’. He told Gawker.com that his association is different to the police department, which is why they have ‘a lot more latitude to be a little more edgy’ and that edginess is necessary to force a deeper conversation on the city’s crime problems.  Omaha is largely ethnically segregated, he says, and many residents dismiss crime by saying ‘it didn’t happen in my part of town, that’s not a problem’, he said.

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