A Haltom City patrol officer is being investigated for spanking two children — with the permission of their grandmother — after he stopped the kids from running into a busy street.
The officer, who is not being identified, used a small child’s belt to “lightly tap” the bottoms of the 5-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister, after asking the grandmother’s permission, she said. The grandmother spoke on the condition that her name and those of the children not be used.
The grandmother, two other patrol officers, a neighbor and the neighbor’s 10-year-old daughter witnessed the spanking in November. Police authorities were alerted last week and began an internal investigation.
“The complaint was received through an internal source and is currently being investigated by the Professional Standards Unit,” Police Chief Cody Phillips said Tuesday in an email. “Once the investigation, including interviews with all parties, is concluded, any action(s) taken by the department will be determined based on the findings of the investigation.”
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The officer remains on duty.
The incident occurred in early November after the grandmother called 911 because her grandchildren had run away from her and she couldn’t catch them.
“My grandson broke a backyard gate and ran down the street,” the grandmother said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “His sister just followed him because they thought it was just fun and games.”
The family lives in south Haltom City and the children ran toward Carson Street, a major thoroughfare.
Within seconds, police arrived and the children stopped when they saw the patrol cars.
The grandmother, who has adopted the children, said she knew one of the officers who answered the call.
“Years ago, he would drive by my family’s home and check on my mother, who was ill,” the grandmother said. “He would check on her all the time. She died four years ago.”
That officer walked the two children back to their grandmother. He talked to them about the dangers of running into streets, but the children continued to have smirks on their faces, the grandmother said.
“He asked if I could get a belt and if he could spank them,” the grandmother said. “I said yes. I went in, got the small belt and came back outside.”
The officer told the grandmother it wasn’t against the law to spank the children.
First, the grandmother spanked each of them. The officer then took the 2-foot-long belt and hit each child once on the buttocks.
The children did not cry nor were they injured, the grandmother said. In the past, for punishments, the children were given spankings, were told to go to a corner or toys were taken away from them.
“They were told to go to their rooms and they did,” the grandmother said. “I have no complaints against that officer. We just wanted to put the fear of God in my grandchildren.”
She described the spankings as “little taps.”
Her husband was not able to punish the children at the time because he was in the back yard fixing the gate, she said.
The grandmother said she was upset that the kids ran away from her and headed to a busy street.
“This has all been blown out of proportion,” she said. “I gave that officer permission to spank them. He didn’t hurt them.”
The grandchildren have not run away since the spanking, she said.
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