'Smoking Baby' Mom Arrested After Facebook Commotion

Viral video led cops to 20-year-old Brianna Ashanti Lofton
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 22, 2018 11:09 AM CDT
Brianna Ashanti Lofton.   (Raleigh Police Department, via New York Post)

(Newser) – A video of an infant smoking a small cigar set off outrage on social media that helped North Carolina authorities ID and arrest the mother. A version of the video that's received 1.5 million views was posted by a user who urged the mother's arrest. The 10-second clip shows the hand of an adult off-screen holding what appears to be a cigarillo to the child's lips. The child then makes a cooing sound and appears to inhale before letting out a puff of smoke. The Raleigh Police Department said Wednesday the child was safe and the mother was in custody, per the AP. "Big thanks to everyone who posted information about the smoking mother and baby," department officials told their Facebook followers in a post. "Thanks to your willingness to get involved, the child is now safe and the mother is in police custody."

A police release identifies the mother as 20-year-old Brianna Ashanti Lofton. She's been charged with two counts of felony child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and possession of marijuana. The child has been placed with Wake County Child Protective Services. It wasn't immediately clear if the smoke in the video was from tobacco or another substance. The man whose post went viral IDed himself as Rasheed Martin of Rochester, NY, and he said he's glad the child is now safe. He said he first found out about the video when a friend shared it online and wanted the woman to be held responsible, so he reposted the video and urged his followers to help ID her. "Once more and more people found out about this situation, they showed me a screenshot of her actual Facebook page," he said, and he added it to the post.

(Read more North Carolina stories.)

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