Mom arrested after Facebook video of baby smoking marijuana goes viral, police say

By JONATHAN DREW, Associated Press, Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

RALEIGH, N.C. -  A video of a 1-year-old smoking a marijuana cigarette set off outrage on social media that helped North Carolina authorities identify and arrest the mother.

A version of the video that's received 1.5 million views was shared 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.

According to warrants, it was marijuana 20-year-old Briana Lofton was she was giving her baby.

The Raleigh Police Department said on its website Wednesday that the child was "placed with Wake County Child Protective Services" and Lofton was in custody.

"We appreciate the public's help in this matter," said RPD Lieutenant Jason Hodge, on the police station website. "We welcome and encourage any assistance the public is willing to give us at all times."

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.

"Big thanks to everyone who posted information about the smoking mother and baby," department officials told their Facebook followers in a post. "Thanks to your willingness to get involved, the child is now safe and the mother is in police custody."

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 an online interview. "Then I later added it to the post so everyone could know exactly who did that to the poor little girl."

According to warrants, the incident happened around December and January.

In court, Lofton stood before a judge in tears.

Lofton is charged with two counts each of felony child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and possession of marijuana.

Click2Houston.com contributed to the content of this story.


 

 

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