CLEVELAND, Texas -- Police in Texas and child welfare officials are investigating after a Walmart shopper posted a picture of a father dragging his young daughter by the hair through the Cleveland store.
A picture of the incident posted to Facebook by the shopper, Erika Burch, has since gone viral, sparking outrage and calls for the man to be charged.
Burch told CBS affiliate KHOU she was shopping Monday night when she saw the young child being dragged with her hair wrapped around the handle of her father’s shopping cart. She was yelling in pain and pleading with him to stop, Burch said.
‘She’s saying, ‘Please stop, you’re hurting me, please stop, I promise I won’t do it again, please stop, please let go,’” Burch told the station.
Burch said she asked the father to stop. When he told her to mind her own business, she said she took the pictures and flagged down an officer, who called his sergeant with the Cleveland Police Department. But Burch said the sergeant told her the child needed to be injured in order for it to be considered child abuse, and said the man had a right to discipline his child.
Burch later shared the picture on Facebook, where it’s been shared tens of thousands of times.
“He is a sick, sick, sick animal is what he is,” Burch said of the father.
Cleveland Police Chief Darrel Broussard tells the station his department has launched an investigation and is taking the case seriously. Texas state Child Protective Services are also investigating, he said.
“Of course, that old saying, ‘if you see something, say something,’” Broussard told the station. “In this case, I have to applaud those witnesses who attempted to intervene for the safety of the child.”