Harambe the gorilla may be getting justice after all. Us Weekly reports that the prosecutor in the Cincinnati gorilla death case will soon go public with his decision on whether he will be pursuing criminal charges against the family of the boy who jumped into the gorilla enclosure.
Hamilton County Prosecutor, Joe Deters, will announce the decision at a press conference on Monday, WHIO reports.
According to WHIO, the Cincinnati Police Department has completed its investigation earlier this week and delivered its report to the prosecution.
Cellphone footage of the incident shows the gorilla grabbing the boy’s foot and dragging him through the shallow moat in the enclosure. The desperate screams of his mother can be heard in the background.
Although some people are now claiming that it looked as if the gorilla was protecting the boy at certain times, the Cincinnati Zoo has defended the decision to kill Harambe, rather than shoot him with a tranquilizer gun, People Magazine reports.
“The idea of waiting and shooting it with a hypodermic was not a good idea,” Cincinnati Zoo Director Thayne Maynard said at a press conference on Monday May 30. “That would have definitely created alarm in the male gorilla. When you dart an animal, anesthetic doesn’t work in one second, it works over a period of a few minutes to 10 minutes. The risk was due to the power of that animal.”
Soon after the child fell into the gorilla enclosure, the two female gorillas were evacuated immediately. However, Harambe, the lone male, stayed.
“He was acting erratically, he was disoriented,” Maynard said. “It’s due to his strength, that’s where the danger was.”
Since Harambe’s death, the mother of the child, Michelle Gregg, has faced a wave of criticism of her parenting skills on social media. Many accused her of not looking after her child properly and caused the death of the endangered animal.
— The Independent (@Independent) June 3, 2016
— HashtagVOA (@HashtagVOA) June 2, 2016
As People Magazine noted at the time, a petition called Justice for Harambe began circling around the web asking the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Child Protection Services, and the Cincinnati Police Department to hold the parents accountable for Harambe’s death. The petition has gained over 500,000 signatures so far.
— Animals Australia (@AnimalsAus) June 6, 2016
— NPR (@NPR) June 5, 2016
However, Cincinatti Zoo Director Maynard said that the zoo will not be bringing any charges against the family of the 3-year-old boy.
“Everybody should keep hold of their kids,” Maynard continued. “Here, the mall, the schoolyard. But the zoo is a safe place.”
According to Us Weekly, Michelle Gregg defended herself in a now deleted Facebook post.
“As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids.”
People Magazine reports that the family of the child eventually made an official statement about the incident where they expressed their gratitude to the zoo-keepers.
“We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla,” the statement reads.
Us Weekly reports that the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla exhibit is set to reopen on Tuesday, June 7, with a new, higher wall installed to ensure the safety of visitors and their children.
[Photo by Jean Christophe Verhaegen/AFP/Getty Images]