Child Protective Services investigators and Cleveland police are looking into a series of viral photos taken Monday night that show a man pulling a 5-year-old girl by her hair while shopping at a Walmart store in Cleveland, Texas.
Erika Burch, who took the photos, said she was shopping when she noticed the girl crying and begging the man to let go of her hair.
“She was saying ‘please stop, I promise I won’t do it again please stop!'” Burch said in a Facebook post. “I took my phone out snapped pictures and then told him to let the little girl’s hair go!”
Burch said the man told her to mind her own business, but she had no intention of backing down. She confronted the man several times, eventually screaming at him to let go of the child, and then called police.
After leaving the store, she remained concerned for the child and posted pictures to Facebook.
“I have three little girls of my own,” Burch said Tuesday. “I’ll be damned if I’ll ever let anybody pull them by the hair of their heads.”
Police are concerned about the incident, noting that “there are proper ways of doing discipline” and that when parents cross the line to abuse it can have a lasting impact on a child’s well-being.
CPS spokeswoman Tejal Patel said the investigation is in the early stages and that in cases like this, investigators will work with police to see whether there is a pattern of inappropriate discipline and determine whether the agency can provide services to assist the family in question.