UPDATE: A Bakersfield man arrested for punching a toddler was released, a Bakersfield Californian report stated on Saturday. His bail was reduced from $1 million to $20,000 after his charges were dropped from felony child abuse to child endangerment.
Video of a Bakersfield man hitting a toddler went viral after it was posted to Reddit on Thursday, and that shocking video led to the man’s arrest later that night, according to ABC 30 News.
Surveillance video from a grocery store in the area is the source of the viral video, and it shows at least two incidents between the boy and the man who was later arrested for abusing the boy. The video was instrumental in the man’s arrest, according to KTLA 5 News.
According to a previous Inquisitr report, footage from before the punch has also surfaced on the internet. This video showed more of the incident between the toddler and the man. Both of the videos are shown in the video above.
“In the 23-second clip, the man identified as Jason Whittington can be seen bending over to say something to the toddler, who appears to be sitting on the ground behind a shelf, out of view of the camera. The man then grabs the toddler by the arm, yanking him into the air where he dangles limp, his arm nearly dislocating from the shoulder.”
The police arrested Justin Whittington, aged 23, at his home on Thursday night. The toddler in the video was also found at the home, and medical personnel looked at him. According to KATU, he is still in his mother’s custody.
In the video, the boy’s mother is shown leading the crying boy out of the store after Whittington punched him. At first, the connection between Whittington and the boy was unknown, but New York Daily News reported that the man is the boy’s father.
The owner of the Vests Market location, Harry Dindral, said that the attack on the child was “the worst thing” he has ever seen. The New York Daily News also shared more about the incident and Dindral’s account.
“Dindral, the store owner, said Whittington had come into the store previously, so he knew who he was. Dindral was in the back of the store when his employee ran to the back and urged him to watch the surveillance video to witness the horrifying assault.”
Dindral revealed the relationship between the man and the little boy. He turned over the video to the police because he said “it was the right thing to do. You don’t hit a child like that.”
Turn to 23 News reported more on Whittington and his past. This is not the first incident of abusive behavior from the man. Natalie Rubio knew Whittington from his time at Bridges Academy. He spent time there as a juvenile, and he was abusive to his girlfriend.
“[Rubio] remembers Whittington in particular of having an angry side. Rubio recalled a story where Whittington’s girlfriend at the time came to her saying Whittington was ‘very angry and very violent.’ After Rubio saw the video online she immediately remembered his past and was disappointed that he continued the cycle of abuse. ‘They kind of get an addiction to the abuse. So when the chaos is not in their life they don’t know what to do,’ she said.”
This attack and the viral video have shocked many on the internet and in the town of Bakersfield. One employee, Chris Danaher, who works at a tattoo parlor near the market, spoke with ABC 30 News about the incident.
“I would never imagine treating a child like that. His wife or girlfriend or whatever was clearly pregnant. She had no regard to it. She picked up her son and left the store. 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.”
On social media, people have expressed their outrage over the video and the incident.
— Alex (@alexam1212) April 11, 2015
Is there a reason for people like this? This is deplorable and I hope the mother finally decides to leave this loser…https://t.co/MqPsCydx2B
— rude6827 (@LiberacesUncle) April 11, 2015
Sometimes I am really ashamed to be known as a human being…just saying. http://t.co/rLKLe1alcZ
— MJM (@MikeJMele) April 11, 2015
— AndréCšyä (@Aztecsoulja) April 11, 2015
Bakersfield man caught on camera punching toddler in the face http://t.co/0mYkh72td0 I can’t look at this.
— To And Afro (@ctv556) April 11, 2015
— Dawn Morgan (@Dawn_R_Morgan) April 11, 2015
Man in Bakersfield caught on camera punching toddler in the face. What a horrible person this guy is https://t.co/lrVDe3MuNl
— Latif (@DrLatifCaUSA) April 10, 2015
Whittington was originally held on $1 million bail. He will return to court on Monday. What do you think of this shocking viral video? What would you if you saw a person treat a child like this if you were out grocery shopping?