Cincinnati Gorilla Tragedy: Parents Of Boy Who Tumbled Into Harambe Could Be Held Liable For Zoo Mishap
Police officials are currently deliberating on whether or not to press charges against the parents of the 3-year-old boy who slipped into the enclosure of a silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend. The mishap has since garnered global attention after zoo personnel were forced to shoot and kill the creature to save the boy's life.
Parents To Be Investigated
Cincinnati police spokesperson Tiffaney Hardy clarified that the on-going discussion is only about the parents' actions, or lack thereof, which ultimately resulted in Harambe's untimely death. The review won't delve into the zoo's decision to shoot the gorilla as other law enforcement agencies have already begun investigating about it.
"After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward," Hardy told CNN. "If it is determined, charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor's office."
The zoo may have played a larger role in the gorilla's killing, but much of the public anger has been directed towards the boy's parents. Several animal rights groups are even calling for the boy's parents to be arrested at once. An online petition dubbed as "Justice for Harambe" now has close to 500,000 signatories. The petitioners want the boy's parents to be criminally liable for what had happened.
Kimberly O'Connor, who claimed to have witnessed the entire incident, revealed to WLWT 5 that the boy was eager to go inside Harambe's enclosure and had told his mother he would be doing so. The mother, who works at a local child's care center, asked her son to behave before getting distracted by the other kids she brought along with her.
"The little boy himself had already been talking about wanting to go in, go in, get in the water and his mother is like, 'No you're not, no you're not,'" O'Connor recalled. "Her attention was drawn away for seconds, maybe a minute, and then he was up and in before you knew it."