The mom of the 4-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo last month won’t be charged, NBC reports. The incident led to the shooting and killing of the gorilla named Harambe on May 28.
As previously reported, the toddler crawled through a barrier and fell 15 feet onto the ground. The 400-pound, 17-year-old Harambe was killed after he began to drag the child around in the closed-off area. The decision quickly led to a fury of backlash on social media, with many people blaming the mother of the boy for the animal’s death.
The frenzy led authorities to investigate the parents’ actions leading up to the incident. The boy’s mother, Michelle Gregg, had previously defended herself in a since-deleted Facebook post, writing, “As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids.”
Last week, Ric Simmons, an Ohio State University criminal-law professor, told the Associated Press that it was unlikely that the boy’s parents would be charged for child endangerment.
“The mother was standing next to a zoo exhibit and lost track of her child for perhaps a minute or so,” Simmons said in a statement. “That has happened to almost every parent in the world in a public place.”
Earlier this month, Gregg’s 911 call at the time of the incident was released. “My son fell in the zoo exhibit at the gorilla, at the Cincinnati Zoo. My son fell in with the gorilla. There is a male gorilla standing over him!” she screamed to the operator. She could be heard yelling to her son, “Be calm, be calm!”
Gregg and Deonne Dickerson have since revealed that their little boy is doing fine following the scary situation. “[We] praise God [for his safety],” they told the Associated Press on June 1.
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