FOX8 reported on surveillance video that revealed Amari Lamb, 2, toddling toward Melissa Tate, 49, who seized him and whipped him on his leg with a plastic back scratcher while he tried to get loose. She shoved him to the floor and hit him again. Then, 10 minutes later, grabbed him, hurled him on a changing table, and hit him again. Tate hit the child at least 22 times.
Police reported that Tonya James, 34, observed Tate and “did not stop or report the abuse.”
Police said Tate’s actions followed Amari striking another child in the head with a large toy.
Amari, with welts and bruises on his legs, was taken by his mother Ryane and his grandmother to the hospital; they called police and filed a report.
Octavia Manuel, the Cedar Early Learning Center’s administrator and licensed school counselor, saw the video the next day and immediately fired the two women. But she told police that Tate was not malicious, that she “acted as an older grandmother may have.” She told FOX8 that Tate cried and expressed regret when she was fired.
Other footage in the video revealed James hitting an 18-month-old girl with a plastic bat.