Mom arrested after Facebook video shows baby smoking
RALEIGH, NC (FOX 46/AP) - Police in North Carolina say they arrested a woman and placed her child in protective custody Wednesday after a video circulated on Facebook of the child smoking.
Brianna Ashanti Lofton, 20, was arrested and charged with two counts of felony child abuse, contributing to delinquency and possession of marijuana, according to Raleigh Police.
Lofton was taken to the Wake County Detention Center. Her baby has been placed with Wake County Child Protective Services.
The initial video was removed from Facebook, but a copy of the video that's received 1.5 million views was posted by a user who urged the mother's arrest. The 10-second clip shows the hand of an adult off-screen holding what appears to be a cigarillo to the child's lips. The child then makes a cooing sound and appears to inhale before letting out a puff of smoke.
The substance the infant was smoking was identified as marijuana, according to arrest warrants.
Residents and others began posting the video and comments on the Raleigh Police Department's Facebook page just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Raleigh Police Department posted to Facebook Wednesday with the update and thanking the community for getting involved.
"Big thanks to everyone who posted information about the smoking mother and baby," the post reads. "Thanks to your willingness to get involved, the child is now safe and the mother is in police custody."
"We appreciate the public's help in this matter," said RPD Lieutenant Jason Hodge. "We welcome and encourage any assistance the public is willing to give us at all times."
UPDATE: Judge sets bond at $100K for mom accused of giving baby marijuana
While police said multiple Facebook users alerted them to the video Wednesday morning, the account holder whose posting was seen by more than a million people said he's glad the child is now safe.
The user, who identified himself as Rasheed Martin of Rochester, New York, said he hasn't spoken directly with police, but he's satisfied that he helped raise awareness. His post prompted numerous comments by people worried about the child or upset with the mother.
Martin said he doesn't know the mother and first found out about the video when a friend shared it online. He said he wanted the woman to be held responsible, so he reposted the video while urging his followers to help identify the woman.
"Once more and more people found out about this situation, they showed me a screenshot of her actual Facebook page," Martin said in in an online interview. "Then I later added it to the post so everyone could know exactly who ... did that to the poor little girl."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.