What a difference a day makes!
KUTV) A video of a baby left in a locked car in Southern Texas has gone viral and so has the reason why the parents of the child weren’t arrested.
A couple from Saudi Arabia was watching a movie at a theater in Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday night. While they were watching the movie, they left their baby locked inside, according to police. While the baby was unharmed, it hasn’t stopped people from being outraged at why officers didn’t hold the couple, who is not from this country, accountable.
“It wasn’t an accident and there wasn’t an arrest … it seems this time, culture played an unexpected factor,” KIII-TV reports.
As police respond and get into the car to check on the baby, a woman records video and posts it to Facebook.
“Someone left their baby in the car,” says a woman.
Police were called to the parking lot around 11 p.m. on Feb. 11. The couple was found inside the theater with their 4-year-old child inside.
“It is a violation of law to leave a child unattended in a vehicle,” Kirk Stowers of Corpus Christi police told KIII-TV 3News. “There were no arrests made last night.”
The reason? It was something police weren’t expecting to hear.
“What they found out is that the family is from Saudi Arabia and they said that this is culturally acceptable for them — it’s normal.”
Authorities aren’t sure how long the family has been living in the United States, but decided to show “cultural sensitivity” and let the family go this time. Police are filing the case as an active criminal investigation and plan to follow up with the parents and see if it “really is normal in Saudi Arabia” to leave a child unattended in a car.
“If it was someone who grew up in the United States, of course the outcome may be very different,” a Stowers, a spokesman for the Corpus Christi Police Department said.
I speculate that this story blew up in the face of the police because of their negligence. The cops are singing a different tune now, which proves that we can make a difference by exposing corruption and incompetence when we find it.
“We didn’t do a good job on your news story the other night. We didn’t do a good job of explaining that,” CCPD Lt. Chris Hooper said. “We should not have released the offenders alibi to y’all. We shouldn’t have done it, but we did.”
Police said Monday they are not buying that excuse, and what the parents did is definitely illegal; but police said the officers in the field determined the child was not in immediate danger after speaking to the parents.
Child Protective Services is now involved in the case and police said the parents are facing child abandonment and child endangerment charges, which means they could face up to two years in jail and pay up to a $10,000 fine.
While the department does strive to be understanding of all cultures and backgrounds, they misspoke on this case.
“I teach multiculturalism in the police academy,” Hooper said, “but in no way do their values from another country or their cultural idiosyncricies afford them the right to break laws in our country.”
Police said they did let the 29-year-old father know that criminal charges could be coming.
If we’re lucky they’ll be deported.