A woman in North Carolina in the United States has been arrested after posting a video of her one-year-old child smoking a joint to Facebook. Raleigh Police Department received a number of complaints on the morning of Wednesday 21 March 2018. The video has since been deleted. It originated from a Facebook account in the name of Bree Bhadd which was used by 20-year-old Brianna Ashanti Lofton. It went viral when it was re-posted by Rasheed Martin of Rochester, New York, who urged that the woman in the video be arrested; his wish came true hours later.
What was on the video?
The 10-second video, which garnered 1.5 million views, was made between December 1 2017 and January 31 2018. Lofton could be seen holding a J in the form of a cigarillo – a small cigar – to her one-year-old child’s mouth, whereupon the child cooed then inhaled and exhaled, with smoke visibly leaving her mouth. Joel Brown, a copper, tweeted that “We were not welcomed” when officers called at the woman’s flat. The address was block 4700, Caldera Lane. Lofton was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, felony child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
She’s banged up
In a brief court appearance the next day, Lofton’s bail was set at $100,000; the prosecutor had requested more because Lofton had recently been charged with the misdemeanours of marijuana possession, assault, affray and violation of pre-trial release conditions, but public defender Caroline Elliot requested this be turned down because, hey, they were only misdemeanours, and Lofton lived with her mother and grandmother and so had family support. Lofton can currently be found at Wake County Detention Center. She is presently studying for the equivalent of a high school diploma. The one-year-old child was taken into care, and Lofton is forbidden from having contact with her.
The filth comment
To Facebook, the police posted “big thanks” to all who had informed them of “the smoking mother” and her baby and stated that the child was safe and the mother in custody. In a press release, Lieutenant Jason Hodge commented that the police welcomed the public’s assistance on this occasion and encouraged other people to do the same.
… as do netizens
Online, comments included “Happy Mother’s Day, you moron” (Mother’s Day was March 11 this year) and “Guess the mother wants her child to be just like daddy! So when he finally gets out of prison they will have so much in common!! LMAO!!”, which earned an accusation of racism for assuming that because the one-year-old child’s father was black, he was languishing in gaol. Another comment read, “Take that poor child away from this lousy excuse of a human being and then sterilize her. She should never have children and doesn’t deserve them.”
… and a neighbour, too
To a TV camera, neighbour Sean Price professed himself to be “flabbergasted”; he had said hello to the one-year-old baby and touched her. The mother, he remarked, had struck him as “a regular good girl” and “Totally, I never expected that coming from her.”
… not to mention a defence attorney
North Carolina defence attorney Stephen Saad described it as “unique and amazing” that an arrest was made within hours of the video being shared. He called social media “an unbelievably powerful tool” for law enforcement. He added that people could find themselves “in a little bit of hot water” if they knew of a crime but failed to report it.