The man who was arrested last week after security footage recorded him punching a toddler in the face was released this weekend, now his family says they’re worried about their own safety.
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Michelle Frost and her brother John Whittington contacted police after seeing the viral video of their nephew Justin Whittington punching a toddler in the face. Now, they’re worried about the many threats they’ve seen pop up on social media.
The video, captured by security cameras, show Justin chasing a toddler around a store and punching him in the face so hard he falls onto the floor; the toddler is then walked out of the store by a woman. The video quickly went viral and has now been viewed almost 2 million times on YouTube.
Frost and John own a local smog shop in Bakersfield, One Stop Smog. They told 23 ABC News they’re worried about how the incident will affect their business.
“People were saying maybe we should show up down at the shop and show them boys how it should be.”
After the viral video of Justin punching the toddler was seen across the country and around the world, and after Justin was released from jail Saturday, angry comments surfaced on news websites and on Twitter.
Justin’s aunt and uncle say they called the Bakersfield police immediately after seeing the video of Justin punching the toddler, but some people still associate them with the crime and after Justin’s release from jail Saturday people are angrier than ever.
After his arrest Thursday, Justin was charged with willful cruelty to a child and his bail was set at $1 million, but Saturday his charges were dropped to child endangerment and his bail was reduced to $20,000.
He has since posted bail and has been released pending an upcoming trial.
Some social media posts say Frost and John were the ones who bailed Justin out, but the two say they did no such thing and now they’re worried about their own safety.
Frost said she and her husband were so afraid they turned on the security alarm on their house for the first time in months this weekend.
Before this incident, Natalie Rubio, a juvenile corrections officer at the Bakersfield court school Bridges Academy, told 23 ABC News, she knew Justin and was concerned he was continuing the cycle of abuse.
She recalled one incident when Justin’s girlfriend came to see her saying he was “very angry and very violent.”
Rubio said she was disappointed when she saw the video online of Justin punching the toddler.
“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.”