The family whose child wondered off and fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo will not face criminal charges. According to a statement by the Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters, the family did not neglect their child.
In a statement, Deters said the child’s mother “did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and turned her back.”
The child slipped away and, within seconds, he fell into the gorilla enclosure. The gorilla, Harambe, appeared to attempt to protect the child. But after zoo attendees began screaming, Harambe was alarmed and began dragging the boy and throwing him against the wall. The child was under the gorilla when zookeepers made a decision to kill the animal before more damage could be done. The child was hospitalized, but was released days later.
The incident created a backlash and stoked racial hatred against the family. Since the incident, the family has received death threats and been called racial slurs. Furthermore, some media outlets published the criminal past of the child’s father. There were also a number of people who called for the parents to be arrested for child neglect.
Deters believes that the incident was a horrific event that ended with the death of the gorilla. However, he said that people should realize that the child’s life had to be saved.
The child did what curious children do; his behavior was not uncommon. But the death of the gorilla revealed how common racist attitudes still are in America today.