A young mother is facing charges after a video went viral that showed her baby smoking what is believed to be marijuana. Brianna Ashanti Lofton, 20, of Raleigh, North Carolina was arrested for felony child abuse and other charges, according to ABC 7, after the video of the incident went viral.
Millions saw the footage of an adult putting a cigarillo to the child's lips. The 1-year-old child is seen inhaling. It wasn't immediately clear what the child was smoking, but the mother has been charged with marijuana possession as well. In a statement, the authorities said that they believe the substance was pot.
“Raleigh Police Department officers have arrested Brianna Ashanti Lofton, the mother of the baby seen smoking in a video posted on Facebook,” read a statement obtained by People. “She was charged with two counts of felony child abuse, contributing to delinquency, and possession of marijuana and transported to the Wake County Detention Center.”
She has been charged with two counts of felony child abuse causing serious bodily injury, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and simple possession of marijuana, according to CBS 17.
"I was totally flabbergasted over the simple fact that I saw that baby smoking," said neighbor Sean Price. "The bad thing about it is I've seen that baby, said hi to the baby, touched that baby, because I have a little daughter of my own, so I interacted with her." He was shocked by the allegations. "She seemed like a regular good girl. I never expected that. Totally I never expected that coming from her."
Concerned citizens saw the video and some contacted the Raleigh Police Department on Facebook. Authorities thanked the public for bringing the case to its attention.
"Big thanks to everyone who posted information about the smoking mother and baby. Thanks to your willingness to get involved, the child is now safe and the mother is in police custody," the Raleigh Police Department posted. Police spokeswoman Laura Hourigan confirmed to ABC 7 that officials were referring to the child in the video.
It's unclear where the video originally came from but according to ABC 7, a man named Rasheed Martin of Rochester, New York posted a version that prompted comments from concerned people. Martin apparently does not know the suspect and wanted to share the video to hold her responsible.
"Once more and more people found out about this situation, they showed me a screenshot of her actual Facebook page," he said. "Then I later added it to the post so everyone could know exactly who ... did that to the poor little girl."
According to warrants, per CBS 17, the incident took place between Dec. 1, 2017, and Jan. 31, 2018. The child is currently in protective services.
Lofton's bond was set at $100,000. She was still in the Wake County Detention Center as of Wednesday.
[Photo: Raleigh Police Dept]
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