Opinion

Toddler ‘thug’ video brings storm of controversy

A video posted on a police union website showing a black toddler being taunted with obscenities by laughing adults sparked a CNN debate Tuesday over whether it highlights a “cycle of violence and thuggery” or just reinforces racist stereotypes about the violent black male.

omahatoddler0108In the video, the young boy is shown being repeatedly called the n-word by off-camera adults, and responding by giving the camera the middle finger and saying “shut up, bitch,” to the adults.

CNN host Don Lemon and guest Mel Robbins tangled heatedly with political commentator Marc Lamont Hill – with Hill arguing the video, on the Omaha Police Officers Association website, would just give ammunition to people who assume black men are thugs.

“It sends the wrong message about young black boys,” Hill said.

Robbins pointed out that it wasn’t the police union that posted the video in the first place. It was put up apparently by the toddler’s uncle – who apparently thought it was funny.

“The point the police are trying to make is that unfortunately, this is something they see a fair amount of,” she said.

And she got obviously exasperated at Hill’s argument that the union was being unfair to blacks.

“Marc, use your common sense for crying out loud!” she said at one point.

Meanwhile, in Omaha, the police union is taking heat from the police chief and the ACLU for posting the video. Chief Todd Schmaderer, who is white, issued a statement saying, “I strongly disagree with any postings that may cause a divide in our community or an obstacle to police community relations.”

But in a statement accompanying the video, the police union said posting it – however disturbing – was part of its duty.

“We here at OmahaPOA.com viewed the video and 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 wrote in a post accompanying the video.

Check out the CNN debate here.

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