Erika Burch and her husband Robert were picking up some groceries from their local Wal-Mart in Cleveland, Texas when she saw a little girl acting strange. “Do you see what that guy is doing to that little girl?” Robert asked Erika. Upon closer inspection she realized a fistful of the little girl’s hair was trapped between her father’s hand and his shopping cart.
Unable to stand correctly, the little girl was sobbing “Please stop. I promise I won’t do it again. Please stop!” as she was literally dragged alongside her father as punishment. Erika was in complete shock.
“I said, ‘Hey you need to let her hair go,’ and he said, ‘No you need to mind your own business,’” Erika told a local NBC affiliate in Houston. Unable to stop the abuse, Erika photographed the man and called the police. Erika was not alone and multiple other witnesses had contacted the police for help.
“He was angry because she wasn’t standing right next to the basket, so he grabbed her by the head of her hair and pulled her to the basket,” Ora Schumann said. “He just said, ‘Get over here, I told you to get over here, I’m not going to tell you again,’ and then after he said that, she said, ‘I’m sorry I won’t do that again, I’m sorry.’”
The Cleveland Police Department has begun an investigation, but they will likely be unable to do anything unless they discover a “pattern of behavior” associated with child abuse. Police Chief Darrel Broussard told NBC that his officers are working directly with Child Protective Services to find out if there are other children in the home.
The following statement was shared on Twitter by the Cleveland Police Department,
The Cleveland Police Department has received numerous calls in regards to a child having her hair pulled last night at Cleveland Wal-Mart. We want to assure the community this case is currently being investigated by our Detective Division. CPS has been contacted per our policy and is also investigating this case. A joint investigation is currently being conducted by both agencies.
No charges have been filed against the man.
Erika shared the images above and a description of the abuse on her Facebook page. She was met with mixed support and criticism for her actions. Some people praised her for stepping in to stop abuse, while others argued that she should have just minded her own business.
What would you have done if you saw this at your grocery store? If this was your niece or granddaughter, would you have wanted a stranger to intervene?
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