PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Erika Burch was at Wal-Mart when she says she couldn’t ignore this…a father, who appeared to be dragging his 5-year-old daughter down the aisle by her hair.
“She is saying please stop. You are hurting me, please stop. I promise I won’t do it again,” Burch said.
She says she asked the man to stop and when he refused, snapped some pictures and called police. With no signs of physical harm, officers could not make an arrest. So, Burch took her case to social media, where it’s being debated whether, or not she should have intervened.
“Makes sense to step in at that point because the little girl couldn’t defend herself,” said Wendy Buckingham.
“I probably would’ve said something friendly to him. Most time, if someone just notices someone else paying attention, their behavior will stop,” said Joel Wilson.
“I think that’s a personal decision,” said Jessica Shapiro, the first deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. “When they have reasonable suspicion, they feel a child is being abused, they should call our hotline.”
Here in Pennsylvania, Shapiro says parents are allowed to use corporal punishment, until it crosses the line. “Causing bodilu injury constitutes abuse and bodily injury means they’re impaired, or in substantial pain.”
Shapiro says it’s up to investigators to decide if there’s abuse, but after nearly 173,000 shares on Facebook, that won’t silence the court of public opinion.
“I want her to know, it’s not OK for anyone to grab you by the hair of your head. It is not OK for anyone to for anyone to drag you by the hair on your head,” Burch said.
To report instances of child abuse, you can contact ChildLine at 800-932-0313 or reach out to Pennsylvania’s child abuse 24-hour hotline at 215-683-6100. Anyone who believes a child is in immediate danger should contact police.