Watch Police Interrogate the Mom Jailed for Letting her Daughter Play at Park

Readers — This is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happened when Debra iktdrzzyfr
 was taken into police custody for letting her  9 year old play at a popular park while she worked her shift at McDonald’s.

WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

The interrogating officer is so officious that it is disturbing to watch. How wonderful, then, that Harrell has since gotten a promotion at work and a pro-bono lawyer — and the sympathy of the world.  She is now suing WJBF-TV, the station that aired the interrogation, because when they first posted it, it included footage of Harrell giving her name, address and social security number.

Most disturbing to me is this exchange:

OFFICER (talking about Harrell’s daughter):  “So you leave her at the park unsupervised?”

HARRELL: “Yeah, but you know — everybody’s there. I didn’t feel I needed to be up there, sitting up there.”

OFFICER: “You’re her mother, right?”

HARRELL: “Yes sir.”

OFFICER: “You understand that you’re in charge of her well being?”

HARRELL: “Yes sir.”

OFFICER: “It’s not other people’s job to do so.”

Well, it’s not other people’s job to look out for other kids if you live in a dystopian world where caring for one another is taboo. Since when have we decided that a child is “alone” even when surrounded by adults and children?

Since we made it a crime to create and trust community. – L


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83 Responses to Watch Police Interrogate the Mom Jailed for Letting her Daughter Play at Park

  1. Coasterfreak August 20, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Wow. The part that bothered me the most was where the officer is getting into her face and demands to know how many times she’s left her daughter at the park and he points his finger straight in her face and practically yells, “And don’t give me any of this ‘one’ crap…”

    I applaud her for staying calm in the face of that kind of intimidation.

    I also love how the reporter says she “confessed” to leaving her daughter alone at the park as if it’s a crime.

    Sickening all around. The report says you can watch the whole video on their website. I’m not sure I could do that without reaching levels of anger that are unhealthy.

  2. BL August 20, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    “You understand that you’re in charge of her well being? It’s not other people’s job to do so.”

    This is an insanely bizarre thing to say when you think of compulsory schooling. Except for homeschoolers (who have to get permission from the state), you’re required to trust a bunch of unionized strangers with your children for huge portions of their childhoods.

    See what John Taylor Gatto has to say, beginning at about 1:00 into this clip:

  3. Kristine August 20, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    The officer says it’s not anyone else’s job to care for her child’s well being, but he doesn’t really mean that. By dropping her daughter off at the park, she was looking out for her child’s well being and he is the one taking her job away.

  4. Mike in Virginia August 20, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    I applaud her for keeping calm through all of this, although, I wish she could have been more assertive of her rights. If there isn’t a law on the books that says that a 9-year old left at the park is a crime, then she committed no crime and should have insisted so (or even better, just said “I’m not talking to you until you provide me with a lawyer”).

    The ACLU has a pocket-guide for asserting your rights with police when you are being questioned or detained. I would love to see an FRK version of such a guide

  5. caiti August 20, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    I am so glad to see her community rallying around her! That is exactly what we need to do every time a parent is arrested for the “crime” of parenting and I believe the only way we are going to reverse the criminalization trend.

  6. jon winston August 20, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    I wonder if the cop was ever allowed the same degree of independence when he was a child? My guess is yes.

  7. Santo August 20, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    I can only hope that the people of this community who fins this as outrageous as I do are contacting their local ELECTED officials and demanding that this case be dropped and that this kind of policing be stopped. Talk about Big Government.

    This also a lesson as to why one should never speak to the police. They are not trying to figure out what happened, they are trying to get you to confess to justify their arrest. They tell you that you have the right to remain silent – exercise that right!

  8. jonathan winston August 20, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    @Mike in VA, It would be natural for white people to assert their rights in a situation like this. (if they ever would BE in such a position in the first place.)

    A working class african american mom had better stick to “yes sir” and “no sir” if she wants to get out of jail any time soon. I hope her lawyer fights the good fight.

  9. Warren August 20, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    OFFICER: “It’s not other people’s job to do so.”

    I would have gotten smart mouthed right there.

    WARREN: “Funny, I thought looking out for the public was your job. You know the whole to protect and serve thing.”.

    Yes she handled herself well, but again. Never ever talk to the police. That is what professinals like Donna are for.

  10. Mick in Pa. August 20, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    This is the type of arrest our local police force likes to make. I personally could be arrested on any given day for allowing my children to have a little “Free Range Freedom”. I do not want my local police force telling me how to parent my kids. I also agree that we need to rally around anyone arrested for the crime of free range parenting.

  11. Andrea August 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    And this, my friends, is the #1 problem with America. We have no sense of community. The thought of taking care of each other is abhorrent. We would rather harm each other than help each other. How is this police officer helping anyone? How is he making this country a better place? How is he making his community a better place. He’s not, but in America that’s okay, because that’s not what we’re about here.

    To say one is “proud to be an American” is basically saying one is “proud to be surrounded by people who want to make things harder for me and will, at best, be indifferent if I fail.” Things are only going to get worse for all of us with that mentality.

  12. Andrea August 20, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Also, they didn’t edit out her social security number? How dumb are they??? Or how disrespectful.

  13. chh110 August 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    This makes me so angry. Do we no longer trust parents to raise their children using their own judgement? Her composure was amazing – I would have snapped at the officers.

    Like you said in the 20/20 carseat special, if we start to criminalize parents for what MIGHT happen, then no parent is safe from prosecution…

  14. BL August 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    @jonathan winston
    “It would be natural for white people to assert their rights in a situation like this”

    Most white people naively believe that cops are Officer Friendly and would be completely bewildered and intimidated in this situation.

  15. lollipoplover August 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    “So you leave her at the park unsupervised?”

    But she didn’t. She was indirectly supervised and knew exactly where mom was plus she had a cellphone to contact her in case of emergency. Her daughter REQUESTED to go to the park. This isn’t a toddler who needs her diaper changed but a capable person making basic choices (and good ones).

    A savvy child who knows this park and prefers to spend her day outdoors vs. sitting inside a McDonalds is not unsupervised/helpless/”well being-less”. Prosecuting and interrogating (and can we just stop this inyourface method of questioning? So disrespectful) parents on everyday judgement calls like this is a crime against humanity.
    It’s a 9 yo in a community park!
    Don’t we want kids playing in parks as they were designed for as long as possible?

  16. SKL August 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    I watched the whole video. That made me sick.


  17. SKL August 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    So now you’re a terrible parent if you let your kids go to the park “every day!”?

    Because if you aren’t there, some perv is going to rape your 9yo while everyone else watches. But if you are there, you’re going to be able to stop that from happening.

    I wanna slap someone and it ain’t that mom.

  18. John August 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm #


    “OFFICER: ‘You understand that you’re in charge of her well being?’

    HARRELL: ‘Yes sir.’

    OFFICER: ‘It’s not other people’s job to do so.'”

    At that point, I would have asked the officer, “You mean to tell me that if you were off duty and in the park with your kids and if you saw another kid in some type of trouble or distress, you would not help them but just take the attitude of ‘well that’s the responsibility of the kid’s parents’?”

    It’s amazing how so many Americans can lack so much common sense when it comes to child safety. Now I certainly don’t mean Americans posting on this site as the far majority here are very free-range with their kids. I mean the American mindset in general that believe kids are snowflakes.

    Like a few people said here, I am not gonna watch this video because it will anger me to no end! Children in the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Ireland, Egypt, India and most of Europe are off to the park and in the city by themselves unattended but heaven forbid that we allow American children the same independence without it being considered a felony.

  19. SKL August 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    I think she probably felt like she had to say “yes sir” the whole way because she didn’t want them to take her kid away for any extended time period, or throw her in the slammer so she’d lose her job. I would have done the same thing if they acted like that toward me. I am a single mom and if the cops say I’m not good enough to take care of my kids, that is going to do damage to my kids.

    When I was 8yo and up, my parents were both at work (not walking distance) and we kids were without “supervision” (and without cell phones) the whole work day, all summer long. We knew how to make our own breakfast/lunch an take care of our basic needs, and we were allowed to go all around the neighborhood as we pleased. My youngest sister was 6 at the time (the oldest brother was 12 but we girls didn’t usually hang with the boys). I am sure nobody would have even thought of calling the cops about kids being at the playground every day! And no school aged kid ever had his mom watching him at the playground. And nothing terrible ever happened! Imagine that. Unsupervised school-aged kids surviving to adulthood! Shocking.

  20. SKL August 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    And just to say it one more time – it is much more likely for a girl to be molested by a “responsible adult” behind closed doors, than for anything bad to happen in a public park with people all around.

    In fact, the reason my parents stopped hiring babysitters was because the women who used to sit for us were playing inappropriate little “games” with my brother. :/

  21. EricS August 20, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Authorities (including law enforcement) are people to. Prone to the same fears and paranoia as some have. Just think of a helicopter parent with a badge. Of course their mentality is going to be that of an overly cautious, fearful parent. And no doubt, they are forcing THEIR beliefs on you.

    Have they forgotten that when they were growing up, “other people” watched over them too? What are they teaching the younger generation? That “NO ONE can be trusted, and everyone is out to get you”? There is a lot of illogical and non-common sense thinking in authorities these days. And some of them have control on what happens to us and our kids. A draconian society? It’s smelling more and more like it.

    Granted, there are parents who do neglect their kids. Who truly do put their kids lives in jeopardy. Like the mom who got ratted out by her 7 year old son, making meth in the car, and leading police to her meth lab. Or even the mothers who smoke around their children. But a single parent, trying to support her family, and making the best of a unfortunate situation, and doing what almost every parent in generations past did as well, this should be assessed relatively, using common sense on the authorities side. No contradictions, no bias, no narrow mindedness.

  22. SKL August 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    You would think the cops of all people realize that the kids are safer in a community park than behind closed doors with whatever caretaker a single McDonald’s employee can afford.

  23. Jill August 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    “Respect my authoritah!”
    Crikey, that cop’s a butthole. You’d think he was grilling a mass murderer instead of a woman who let her kid play in the park.
    Do we know this charming gentleman’s name, so we can contact the chief of police and suggest that he be ordered to take lessons in civility?

  24. Warren August 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Police, fire, paramedics, er docs and nurses are among the worst fearmongers out there. So many of them post just awful comments on child related stories.

    They never seem to take into account that it is their chosen profession that brings them into contact with all the tragic incidents, involving kids.

    You try to tell them, of course you see all the broken arms from kids playing. You are an emergency room doctor. And that the vast majority of people will never in their life see such an injury occur. And they dismiss you like a screwball.

    The way I see it, if you cannot objectively remove your work life from reality, you are burnt out and need to step back.

  25. Mark Roulo August 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    BL: “Except for homeschoolers (who have to get permission from the state), you’re required to trust a bunch of unionized strangers with your children for huge portions of their childhoods.”

    This isn’t quite on-topic, but:

    1) Homeschooling laws vary by state. In California (and probably other states as well) you do not have to get permission from the state to homeschool.

    2) Not all public school teachers are in unions. Wisconsin being one example of a state with non-union public school teachers.

  26. DB August 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Ms. Skenazy:

    This is about so much more than “cotton wool culture.” This is also about racism and the way we dehumanize the poor. This arrest would never happen in an affluent white suburb, not in a million years. I realize these are social issues your blog isn’t devoted to, but if you’re going to take on a story like this you should cover ALL of it.

  27. SKL August 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    I am the last person to race-monger, but I have to agree this smells of racism, and so do some of the other cases I’ve seen. I noticed it was a white cop not letting the mom get a word in edgewise. I felt dirty.

    I would love it if I could be wrong about this, but it smells.

    That said, it is still a problem for white parents too. It just seems to be worse for those least able to afford child care. :/

  28. librarian August 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    @DB: “This is also about racism and the way we dehumanize the poor. This arrest would never happen in an affluent white suburb, not in a million”…for what it’s worth, recent immigrants from countries where pre-teens still have some degree of freedom get in trouble with police and get cps called on them by well-meaning neighbors quite a lot, despite being lily-white and middle class. As a first-generation American myself, I heard plenty first-hand accounts from horrified parents…

  29. no rest for the weary August 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    “In fact, the reason my parents stopped hiring babysitters was because the women who used to sit for us were playing inappropriate little “games” with my brother. :/”

    Oh, no, that never happens. Women and girls NEVER “molest” children.

    *end sarcasm*

    A park with a bunch of parents and kids in it is not where 9-year-olds get lured into trouble. It is one-on-one situations where kids are at risk, where there is a power imbalance, and no one to bear witness.

    Sure, the odd kid might get into trouble with someone at a park. But the odd kid gets injured within arm’s reach of his parents EVERY DAY.

    Stop criminalizing people for their lack of compliance with your personal idea of what “safety” looks like! “What if” is NOT “What is”!

  30. no rest for the weary August 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    And the playing we did outdoors as kids? At parks, pools, playgrounds, the woods, neighbourhoods not our own?

    Out of our parents’ sight after about age 4 or 5, and no one ever got into trouble with a “stranger.”

    I suppose if the mom wanted to play by today’s rules, she would have had to get some mother (has to be female) in the park who was going to be there for several hours to officially “keep an eye” on her child.

    Whereas we were just told to ask someone for help if we needed it. There were no formal agreements between my parents and other adults in the community. It was simply a given that children could get help from other people’s parents if they needed to when we were out and about.

    I do despair about the assumption that community and interdependence are simply non-existent as far as the law is concerned. It’s every man for himself. So you either thrive and succeed all on your own, or you fail and fall down all on your own. The American way. God forbid people help each other out with things. You know what one of the greatest thrills of humans actually is? Contributing in a meaningful way to someone else’s well-being.

    If that’s one of the biggest thrills, why in the hell are we so insistent on cutting ourselves off from that wonderful experience?

  31. SKL August 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    It’s interesting, thinking back on my childhood at the playground. I said nobody brought their parents, and that is true. However, if a little kid fell down and got hurt, there would be a caring adult there instantly. Someone who lived in the neighborhood and heard the telltale sounds that say, “this is a real hurt, not just kids fussing.” By the time the crying child opened her eyes and took a breath, there would be folks leaning over her, including at least one kindly “stranger” who would know just what to do. And nobody would be saying “why isn’t this child’s parent around?”

    Another time my siblings and I went to a somewhat distant neighborhood and gave into a minor temptation. We thought our parents would never find out. Well, we were wrong. Somehow somebody figured out who we were and where we lived and told our parents what was up. And this was before the days of handy dandy cell phones etc. And again, nobody said anything about “why weren’t these kids with their parent.”

  32. Puzzled August 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Talk about wanting to have it both ways:

    “OFFICER: ‘You understand that you’re in charge of her well being?’
    HARRELL: ‘Yes sir.’
    OFFICER: ‘It’s not other people’s job to do so.’”

    In that case, Mr. Officer Sir, why the hell are you deciding whether or not the kid can stay in a park?

    As for race and economics, I’d say this. I doubt the arrest is based on race, but race probably makes her more powerless, or at least perceive herself as more powerless. The arrest might not be less likely for a middle class parent in the same situation, but that’s the point – a middle class parent is less likely to be in the same situation. Middle class parents send their kids to violin lessons or some such. The point here is that we are judging poor people for not having middle class value systems.

  33. Donna August 20, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    I didn’t watch the whole thing, but the part that I did see was nothing. I’ve seen far worse police interviews. I’m not sure why anyone would think cops are nice while interrogating suspects.

    Poverty is the issue far more than racism. There are definitely problems with race and law enforcement – profiling, stereotyping mostly – however, I find very little difference in the treatment of my poor white clients and my poor black clients. The cops have absolutely no respect for either of them.

  34. Jill August 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    Would this interrogation have taken place, heck would the arrest have even been made if the mom was white, educated, or employed at something better (for lack of a better term) than fast food? I think not.

    I get it that cops see the worst humanity has to offer. But law enforcement officers shouldn’t assume the worst about every parent – and certainly not because the parent is minority, single, poor, or less educated.

  35. JP Merzetti August 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Once upon a time and long ago, at around the same age as this woman’s daughter…….I was saved from drowning by an adult male stranger.
    My dad was at work. My mom was at home. My friends didn’t notice. But he did.

    All these years later, I know just exactly how I feel about that guardian angel. I truly wish I had thanked him better, at the time. (But I was too embarrassed. I was a kid.)

    My point being: that natural and normal community involvement in the wellbeing of all citizens cannot be privatised into entrepreneurial nirvana. We simply cannot afford it.
    (Yet somehow – we act like we can.)

    As long as the nose-sniffers keep calling the cops, then Houston, we will have a problem.

    When I was 16, I used to love the occasional midnight ramble.
    Long walks. On my own.
    Twice, a patrol car pulled over and checked on me. I was not profiled. They expressed concern that I was all right, is all.
    Once they even gave me a ride home (and it was a long drive.)
    They were just there to serve, and to protect. Where did that go?

    I sincerely hope that the community this woman belongs to raises righteous hell. It is no crime to be poor.

  36. lollipoplover August 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    “This arrest would never happen in an affluent white suburb, not in a million years.”

    At a soccer tournament this weekend, police could have arrested dozens of parents who watched soccer games while younger siblings played *unsupervised* at the adjacent playground. I sent my youngest there with 2 of her friends. I even gave her a dollar to get a soft pretzel if she got hungry.
    Is this bad parenting????

  37. Amy August 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    Protect and serve, asshat. Not humiliate and denegrate, you stupid turd. And I’d like to smack that pompous, self-righteous reporter.

  38. Buffy August 20, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    “Of course their mentality is going to be that of an overly cautious, fearful parent. And no doubt, they are forcing THEIR beliefs on you.”

    But they are also charged with enforcing the LAW, and investigating CRIME. If there is no relevant law and no crime committed, their mentality and personal beliefs should have nothing to do with it.

  39. Donald August 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    The News media has the morals of a prostitute. A prostitute chases after money and has no loyalty with anyone whereas the News chases after stories that will make people feel outraged and they set the tone of the story and adjust the ‘facts’ to produce the most outrage that they can.

    This is why they condemn a mother that left her 12 year old son in a car for 1 minute. The next day they will change their stance 180 degrees. They will run a story about how outrageous it was to arrest Debra Harrell.

    Don’t you feel sorry for the gullible people that believe what the news reports? They justify their own ‘drama addiction’ by believing that they watch the news because they’re a concerned citizen. They don’t understand that they themselves are part of the problem.

  40. SteveS August 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    That was pretty tame. Interrogations are designed to break people down and badger them into giving a confession or some other incriminating information. Police are allowed to lie to do this. I am glad she has a lawyer, but this is the millionth example on why you should never talk to the police if you are the subject (or could be the subject) of an investigation.

  41. LauraL August 20, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    ” Someone who lived in the neighborhood and heard the telltale sounds that say, “this is a real hurt, not just kids fussing.” By the time the crying child opened her eyes and took a breath, there would be folks leaning over her, including at least one kindly “stranger” who would know just what to do. And nobody would be saying “why isn’t this child’s parent around?””

    When my son was in Little League, we were at a practice on a local elementary school field. The school grounds backed a public park, and from that area I spotted three middle-school aged boys approaching. Two had arms around one, who was stumbling a little. I pointed them out to another mom next to me and said, “Something’s wrong.” As they got closer we could see one boy was bleeding from the head. The other mom was an EMT, and got her first aid kit from her car, while I got the boy to sit down and rest his head on my leg so EMT could treat the gash. Of course we helped! We didn’t wonder why he was “unsupervised”. He got hurt and guess what – they GOT HIM HELP. And he didn’t want us to call his mom but we insisted because he was hurt – he was afraid he’d get in trouble (they were doing the oh-smart-thing of throwing rocks and he got clocked. Natural consequences?) We called mom anyway and she came and fussed over him. I saw him the next day and he had a nice bandage on his head and clearly wasn’t grounded or anything!

    As to rallying around these moms, I fully agree. We should show up and PACK the court rooms, silently supporting. We should be outside the courthouse with picket signs: Let Us Parent! We know our children best!

    We have to speak up or nothing will change.

  42. Rachel August 21, 2014 at 4:36 am #

    “It’s not other people’s job to do so.”

    Well I agree that you can’t fully expect strangers to babysit your kids. Sense they have their own things to do but that more applies to toddlers or children too young to know basic safety precautions and the assumption that your completely out of reach. A nine year old is old enough to not just run in streets or go into peoples yards and hug their guard dogs,old enough to know street locations and old enough to get help if needed. Thus not needing constant babysitting. I would also hope that strangers would not just let your kid get kidnapped,badly injured without help or lost as well.

  43. Let Her Eat Dirt August 21, 2014 at 5:44 am #

    This is a fascinating and disturbing video. I think many of the commenters are right to point out the race and class dynamics at work here. Though many wealthy white communities can be hyper-paranoid about kids, a cop would not arrest and interrogate a wealthy white parent in this situation. Ms. Harrell has to be calm and do the “yes, sir” because she cannot trust the cops to do the right thing. She cannot be more firm about her rights because as a low-income black mother her words simply don’t carry much weight with authorities. It’s sad but illuminating to watch.

    Let Her Eat Dirt
    A dad’s take on raising tough, adventurous girls

  44. Andrew August 21, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    White policeman intimidates black woman? Plus ca change. At least he did not shoot her.

    It takes a village to raise a child. The modern way appears to be to raise anti-social loners who hide indoors and only communicate via electronic devices.

  45. Nadine August 21, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    “It isnt other peoples job….”

    If other people didnt do their civil duty to one another in the community the cops have a awfull hard time getting anyone to testify or stick their neck out for one another. Just shows what kind of policing they believe in. How much faith they have in their community. Helping to make each person a island.

  46. lollipoplover August 21, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    When did “independent” become a four-letter parenting word?

  47. Jill August 21, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    When I was a newspaper reporter I met a lot of cops. Eighty percent of them were good, honorable people who took pride in doing a very tough job to the best of their ability. Another ten percent seemed pretty burnt-out by the awful stuff they saw day in and day out while on the job. They readily admitted to counting the days until their twenty years were up, and they could retire and collect their pensions.
    Then there was the other ten percent. They were an angry, scary bunch whose personal lives were frequently a shambles. God help anyone who fell into their clutches, because they were pissed off at the world.
    I’m not sure what’s up with the officer in this video, but it appears he confused “let daughter play alone at the park” with “murdered a dozen nuns and orphans by running them through a wood-chipper.”

  48. SKL August 21, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    If it isn’t other people’s job to give a damn about a 9yo in the park, then why did people feel the need to complain about a girl who was just fine? Obviously some people have voluntarily taken on the “job” of meddling in children’s lives and hurting kids.

    I really want to talk to the people who called the cops. What was the problem? How can a 9yo spend “too much” time at the park on summer days?? Was she hurting herself or others? Was she hogging the baby swings? Did she eat more than her share of the lunches they hand out? Did she play in the street? What? Just for being in the park she is a public nuisance? Or was she overdosing on fresh air and exercise?

    Would they prefer she be placed in foster care? Do they want her parent to lose her job? In what way do they think getting that mom arrested is helping the child?

    Why don’t busybodies focus on their own families? Could it be that their families are already so perfect that there is no room for improvement? If there is no room for improvement in their own life, then perhaps it is not too much to ask that they be a little neighborly toward the other kids at the park?

  49. Warren August 21, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    It also has a great deal to do with the “hero complex”.

    The idiots that called the police are right now bragging to their friends and family how they saved this “poor abandoned” child.

  50. Warren August 21, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Before even drafting the constitution, they made sure the people knew why it was being written.

    So how in the world does arresting parents for letting their kids go to the park fit into the grand design that those who drafted probably the most honoured document in history?

  51. Jen (P.) August 21, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Is anyone else physically incapable of reading or reciting the Preamble to the Constitution without doing it to the tune of the Schoolhouse Rock song?

    The Supreme Court has repeatedly confirmed the right of parents to direct and control the upbringing of their children. Unfortunately too many people in law enforcement and state legislatures don’t seem to give a damn. I’d love to see some of these cases make their way through the court system but it’s unlikely to happen because people like Debra Harrell need to to what they have to in order to get their kids back.

  52. Warren August 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    I can. But I usually do it the same way Capt. James T. Kirk did it in the episode with the Yangs and Congs. But then again Shatner and I are both Canadians. LOL!!

  53. BL August 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    “Shatner and I are both Canadians”

    Well, you better not visit the US. According to the FBI, talking about the Constitution makes you a terrorist:

  54. Papilio August 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    @BL & Warren: Better not write a *story* about the constitution then! (Does it contain the word ‘gun’? 😛 )

  55. Warren August 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    I have always wondered……if a canadian was to send the president a gift of a Kinder Surprise, would that be considered….

    1. A gift
    2. A threat
    3. An attempt on life

  56. Papilio August 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    @Warren: Would Obama really try to eat the toy inside?

  57. Donna August 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Warren – A terroristic act. And maybe a reason to invade Canada.

    My kid loved Kinder eggs when she discovered them in New Zealand. She begged for one every time we went into a grocery store. Candy with a surprise toy in the middle is apparently the best thing ever when you are 7.

  58. Warren August 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    Do you know any attorney that wants to take on a lawsuit against CRACKER JACKS for the generations of kids they so obviuosly put at risk?

  59. Donna August 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    Not to mention all those cereal manufacturers who put toys in the boxes.

  60. renee August 21, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    Off topic: did you see the WSJ article in (I believe) Tues 8-19 edition? All about how an ARREST record comes up on background checks, etc. and even if the charges were dropped, it was a mistake, nothing ever came of it – the record is still there. And almost impossible to get rid of it. I thought it was another good angle to the harm done to innocent parents. Even if they were released 30 min later, the arrest report can follow them forever.

  61. Ashley Preskar August 21, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    Why on earth should a nine year old have to be responsible for her own well being for 8 hours in a public area? Most 9 year old’s don’t have the life skills or emotional wherewithal to be on their own for 8+ hours a day. If they did, they would have jobs and drive cars. And even if your little child is the most amazing, independent, MENSA candidate to ever pop out of a woman, its not their job to do so. Your job as a parent is to raise them, keep them safe, to teach them independence in a fashion that is appropriate for their age. Not to completely skirt your responsibilities as a parent under the veil of “the horrible media and police are infringing on whatever parenting craze i’m subscribing to this week”.

    Yes, if I saw a child drowning or being kidnapped in a park, I would intervene. But I shouldn’t have to, I have my own kids to look out for, the parent should of done everything to prevent that from happening and showing up is the biggest component of that. And when your child is kidnapped or breaks their arms because they fell off a swingset, like children do, you are going to want the police & public servants to be there, helping a poor crying child that only wants their parent who is nowhere to be found. And it seems like you have no problem wasting my tax dollars or public servants time all because your nine year old needs to be completely independent, which, 9 year olds aren’t….because their NINE.

  62. Earth.W August 21, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    So, we put pedophiles on the street and punish parents who teach their children independence.

  63. Earth.W August 21, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    Ashley, in several European and Asian nations, children as young as five years old are expected to make their own way to school and back without parental supervision.

    Their adults don’t cry like selfish toddlers. They look out for each other. America and Australia suffer the same selfish, uncaring mentality which is seeing us left behind where today’s children will still be sucking their thumbs when they’re 40 years old.

  64. Ashley Preskar August 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Earth W, yes in many cultures that is the way. But what you are suggesting is completely different than this situation. The child was not walking to and from school. The child was left alone in a park on numerous occasions. The situations aren’t remotely the same. Just like teaching your children independence is very different than neglecting them for an entire day while you work. And in some of these same countries you are referencing, children have to work 8 hour days for little pay, are sold into child prostitution at a young age and their parents don’t have the education or means to know any better. This woman lives in a first world country with laws to protect young children, she should of known better.

  65. SteveS August 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    Jen (P.), I can’t recite the preamble without the Schoolhouse rock song. I still like those clips. I found a DVD that compiled all of them and got it for my daughter a few years ago.

    Warren, an unfortunate small percentage of this country cares, much less understands, the Constitution. For many, the tendency is to take a smorgasbord approach and just pick and choose the parts they like and leave out the parts they don’t, saying they are outdated. Then we have a gov’t that does the same thing with legislation and policy.

  66. Decemberbaby August 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Ashley, this woman was doing her duty to parent and take care of her child. She was working to earn money to keep a roof over her child’s head and food on her plate. She equipped her daughter with a cellphone and gave her permission to go to the park. She didn’t *leave* her kid at the park, her child walked there on her own two feet AND had the capability to walk back to her mom’s place of work at any time. I’m not sure how this is her neglecting her child.

    And as for your “I shouldn’t have to watch out for other people’s kids, I have my own kids…” yeah, we all know how taxing and onerous it is to be aware of your surroundings and be nice to people nearby who might need your help. Selfish attitudes like yours are eroding our communities and turning America into a police state… not to mention the selfishness you’re modeling for your own children.

  67. Warren August 21, 2014 at 10:17 pm #


    First and foremost, no one is asking you to watch their kid.
    Second, no self respecting parent would ask you, someone with emotional and anger issues to watch their kid.

    Now to some of your rants.
    It was not 8 hrs a day on multiple occassions. It was a few hours, occassionally, as her mom was only working part time.
    Next you need to remember, is she had a phone on her to call mom, if she needed.

    “And when your child is kidnapped or breaks their arms because they fell off a swingset, like children do, you are going to want the police & public servants to be there”

    My three all spent hours upon hours at parks, beaches and playgrounds without me hovering over them………..and guess what, no kidnappings and no broken bones. Go figure, considering three kids, it would have been hundreds of unsupervised hours starting at age 7.

    Next whether I am there or not YOU ARE DAMN RIGHT THE EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE EXPECTED TO DO THEIR JOBS. Because I damn well pay enough taxes for their jobs.

    You little lady, need to take something to calm yourself down, and maybe stop watching the news so much.

  68. SOA August 21, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    I can agree with the sentiment that some parents rely on bystanders or other parents to mind and/or watch their kid for them and I am not always a fan of that.

    I will always step in if I need to to help a kid, but I have my own kids and crap to deal with and sometimes I just wish you were not make it my problem.

    Now an independent 9 year with a phone to call Mom if there is a problem, would probably not be an issue.

    So in this case, I think it was okay barring that little girl was just playing and not bugging other parents for snacks or drinks or following them around talking their ear off or bullying other kids.

    I would paid her no attention if she was just minding her business playing.

  69. common sense August 22, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    hey ashley you seem to forget you are raising adults,not children[ though you probably are raising children]. kids do not magically at 16 or 18 or 21 suddenly wake up one day all independent and able to navigate the world. they need years of practice to work it out and your attitude is why college students can’t handle a fire [called parents instead of fire dept] a bad grade , suddenly being of drinking age[ do you wonder why our college students have the problem with binge drinking that they don’t have in europe?] or someone expecting them to actually show up on time for work? don’t worry kids, mom is always there for you, you don’t need to think, just be afraid of every body but me. and yes a child walking to school is the same as a child at the park “alone”….both need to know[through experiance] how to observe their surrounding and be aware of anything or body “off” and know how to react. this was not a child abandoned with nothing to fend for herself in a forest full of starving wolves…it was a child who had been to the park in a town with a cell and amother nearby[look at the crow flies distance, not the street distance] a park where the actually supplied lunch to kids because so many were there.
    you and other overprotective control freaks have made this first world issue a problem, you have so little to really be worried about and your life is so tied to your child’s you can’t let go. if the park was as dangerous as you believe it would be shut down. if you don’t want to watch someone’s kid, don’t. teach your kids why they should have no feelings and concerns for others, just for themselves. just don’t feel the need to make your selfish paranoid holier then thou child raising philosophy a requirement for everyone so you can feel good about it. walk away. sorry to others about the rant but i deal with parents all day everyday who can’t see how they are crippling their precious snowflakes for life by telling them over and over again” you can’t, your not capable, it’s too hard for you, you might be dirty,hurt,tired,etc. your too young[to17yearolds]. let your children become adults!

  70. Ashley Preskar August 22, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    How many McDonalds employees do you know can stop what they are doing and take a phone call? She admitted that someone was suppose to meet her daughter at the park and then the person must of never shown up… How on earth is that being responsible for your child? Yes this woman is making money to provide for her child, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have to provide care for her child. And letting your 3 children go play at a beach or a playground is much different than leaving one child at a park alone equipped with a cell phone. A cell phone is not a caregiver. You talk about how media blows everything out of proportion, but look how misleading this headline is? Mother arrested for letting child play at park…that is not AT ALL what happened. The mother was arrested because she left her child unsupervised at a park for multiple hours while she was working. You can try to condescend to me all you want, but the bottom line is she was not caring for her child. And you are using examples of “hovering” and “walking to school” completely out of context. I 100% agree that children need a healthy amount of independence, I believe that’s part of our jobs as parents to make sure that they can go out into the world prepared and able to live without mommy and daddy. And how on earth does me expecting you to be responsible for your child make me over protective? My child is extremely independent and empathetic, he is a great kid who loves adventure and helping people, he’s traveled all over the world, has seen how other kids live and is very appreciative for what he has. And if he saw a little kid in a park all alone for hours, he would be the first to go up to them and make sure they were okay and ask if they want to play. But the bottom line is that young children aren’t equipped to always make good choices all the time, they fall, they get back up, they learn. A child left alone while their mother is at a busy job has way too many opportunities to fall, ones that unfortunately they are too young to understand the consequences of. And I don’t watch the news because I worked for it for 12 years. I have seen things in person that would make you never want to leave your house. But I do leave my house and I encourage my child to go out into the world and enjoy the beauty of it, I teach him that even though you hear bad things that the majority of people in the world are good and care and want to help. But that being said, I applaud the officers for taking steps to make sure that this child stays safe, that she is looked after and cared for.

  71. common sense August 22, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    ashley, you claim to be a caring person and that the mother was negligent and the cops were simply ensuring she cares for her child. you see nothing wrong with talking down to her and humiliating her because you believe she deserved it. does it get cold and windy on that ivory tower you’ve put your self in? she did nothing different than millions of parents have done before. you claim the world is no longer that safe. i claim it is, only in the news you must know if it bleeds it leads and reporting is scewed to the sensational. fear mongering is big business and your falling for it. if the world is that bad then work to change it, don’t hide your head and expect everyone else to. you say your child is perfect but how do you know if youo’re with them 24/7?. i believe the park knew there were unescorted children, they feed them,had people there. you say 9 is too young. what age would you chose? would you have felt better[out of site, out of mind]had she left the girl home alone[nobody around]? how would you have felt if she was sitting alone at mcdonalds,after all you wouldn’t have know her mother worked there, would you have called the cops? as for her mom not answering the phone,just what would have stopped her? how do you know she wasn’t checking in periodically with mom[or visaversa].but then, you apparently are perfect and know the answers to all these.

  72. Asya August 22, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Oh my gosh Ashley you should join MADD or something. “And how on earth does me expecting you to be responsible for your child make me over protective?” How about you don’t expect anyone to do anything? It’s not your job to expect how other people raise their children. The difference between your mentality and the one on FRK is that you want to enact your personal sense of what is correct parenting onto others, but the people here just want the option to raise their own children how they want. And there is nothing misleading about the headline. Letting a kid go to the park for a few hours is not “not caring for her.” It’s… letting a kid go to the park for a few hours. Big tragedy, huh? Also, please do not judge what other’s children are capable of at what age. That’s not your job. It is also disturbing how you praise a bunch of pigs for putting a mother and her kid through this entire traumatic as fuck experience while you sit self-righteously behind a screen.

  73. Warren August 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm #


    Stop with the food and drink thing, everytime this kind of thing happens. We know you don’t like it, we all know you don’t like it, and trust me, noone wants one of your damn juiceboxes.

  74. Warren August 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    Anxiety Ashley,

    Noone is asking or expecting you to watch or be responsible for their kid. GET THAT THRU YOUR THICK HEAD!!!!! If a parent does not feel that their child needs to be supervised, they do not need to be supervised, therefore they are not asking you to supervise, you whackjob.
    You say you work for the news, which news? And do you think that has jaded you views or traumatized you into mental illness?

    And for the record, given you attitude, your unstable personality, not only is noone asking you to watch their kid………I hightly doubt they would allow you around their kid.
    You want to hover, you want to raise your kid your way…….go for it. But do not lecture us, and do not applaud an abusive police force for making up laws as they go along.
    Cause Darlin, one day they will not like something you did, and that will be your ass sitting in that room.

  75. SOA August 22, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    Warren: I will say whatever the hell I want first of all.

    Secondly, you are right, having random kids bug me for food or toys or drinks or following me around, etc does not happen often. But it has happened a few times and it was a pain in my ass. I have to deal with my own kids being pains sometimes, I really have no patience for a random kid doing so. I am okay with dealing with and helping my friend’s kids, but not so much stranger’s kids.

    So the only reason I would think this situation was bad was if the little girl was going around asking other parents to borrow their phone or borrow their toys or asking for food or drink or just in general not being well behaved. That makes me start looking around for their parents so I can ask them to deal with their kid. When I could find the parents I would be like “huh?” but would not call the cops as long as the kid seemed not in danger. I would chalk it up to a parent dumping their kid off and letting other people deal with her, which is rude, but not against the law or dangerous.

    It is not about just safety. It is also about being a polite person. If your kid is safe alone at the playground that is one thing. But if they are being rude and bothersome, that is another issue. Free rangers need to make sure our kids are very well behaved so we don’t get the reputation for lazy parents who just dump our kids on others so they bother someone else.

    Let’s show the world that not only can our kids be independent, but they also can do so without bothering anyone else.

  76. Warren August 23, 2014 at 1:26 am #

    Shut the hell up. Am sick and tired of your rantings on rude kids. It does not apply here. Nor does the food, or the phone. Her mom worked at the McDs nearby, and she had her own phone. Her mom did not dump her, she asked to go to the park.

    So if you had actually read anything you would have known all this.

  77. hineata August 23, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    I have to say, this cop contrasts greatly with the wonderful police we were lucky enough to encounter the other night. Even Miss Snotty only got a telling off, mostly for running up the railway tracks. And it’s infinitely worse to have a kid on the loose on a cold winter’s night right after pub closing than during the day at a park.

    Not that our police are perfect by any means, (nor are any group of professionals either, of course) but am thankful again that we live here. I once sat on a trial for a man accused of rather a bad sexual abuse incident, and the policeman questioning him was far milder than this chap, over just leaving a kid in a park.

  78. SKL August 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    Dolly, I agree kids should be taught to be polite at the park, but we as adults have to accept that kids are kids. We as adults in this great country can put up with kids being kids once in a while. If a child does something really annoying, tell her you don’t like it. It isn’t that hard.

    And an impolite kid is no reason for a parent to be treated like a criminal. If I find out that people called the cops because a 9yo girl asked to share another kid’s toys or snack, I’m really going to lose it.

  79. SOA August 23, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    SKL: I agree calling the cops over an annoying kid is nuts. But the typical protocol when a kid is being rude or annoying is search out their parents and alert the parents to what the kid is doing. I know I appreciate when other parents let me know if my kids are bothering them. That way I know to correct them.

    So if parents cannot find the parents of the bothersome kid, then you are like “uh” and don’t know what to do.

    Main thing teach our kids to blend in and they are less likely to get the cops called on them when they are playing alone. Don’t be a nuisance and maybe no one will even notice you.

  80. Lisa August 24, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Oh, Lenore. You are so great! The last line of this post made me want to stand up and cheer. YES!

  81. Donna August 24, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    SOA – How about just speaking to the child if you find him or her too annoying to bear? You don’t need the parents to there. Heck, my guess is if the parents are there and the kid is still being super annoying, the parents are not going to be much help in stopping the behavior.

  82. SOA August 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    I do speak to the child and sometimes that does zero good. Not all kids respect adults and think they have to listen to random adults.

    So then its time for their parents to step in. If they are not there that is a problem. Because then I have to step in and try to get onto the kid and its not really my place to lecture other people’s kids.

    So what is your magical solution if I ask the kid to give back my kid’s bike and he doesn’t?

  83. SKL August 27, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    SOA, if a kid is stealing your kid’s bike, that’s when you talk about calling the cops, and do it if he doesn’t stop.

    I don’t understand, so when I was a kid, myself and every other kid in my city was a big problem because our parents weren’t around for folks to tattle to?

    Well actually, you as a parent wouldn’t have been at the park either in those days. So you wouldn’t be looking for parents to control kids’ interactions. And … that would be OK! It is how kids have grown up since the beginning of human history. School-aged kids do not need their parents (or anyone else’s parents) up their butts.

    So I’m not sure why you get involved in your 7yos’ interactions in the first place. Maybe you need to do that for your autistic son, but in that case, your involvement should focus on helping him to do what other kids are able to do without help.

    Unless a 9yo kid is outright committing a crime, it is not a police matter whether she’s with a parent or not.