The video, recorded from an Instagram Live on June 17, appeared to show the young boy being struck by members of his family. It also appeared to show the word gay cut on the side of his head with clippers, supposedly as a punishment.
APD now says that 35-year-old Brittney Monique Mills, 19-year-old Lorkeyla Jamia Spencer and 18-year-old Jarrode Richards-Nwankwo have been arrested. Mills and Spencer are being charged with cruelty to children, and Richards-Nwankwo has been charged with cruelty to children and battery - family violence.
"The behavior in this social media post was difficult to watch and is absolutely unacceptable. We are appreciative of the number of people who flagged this case with us and for those who provided information on the location where it took place," APD said in a statement. "Our investigators worked hard to identify those involved and to gather the evidence needed to place each behind bars and we are thankful for their work."
The boy was removed from the home the day after the video and was placed in the care of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
The child's home is located in District 9, the district activist and city council candidate Devin Barrington-Ward hopes to represent.
He spoke to the boy and his mother last month, and told 11Alive's Hope Ford that they talked "about what had took place, about some of the challenges that she’s had as a single mother of eight and about some of the challenges raising a young Black queer child in poverty."
“As a Black queer man, I have experienced some of the same homophobia and some of the same abuse by the hands of people that I love as a child,” he said. "“If you saw that and you didn’t see anything wrong with that, you’re part of the problem."
The child, Barrington-Ward said, was emotionally stressed both from the experience and the idea of being removed from his home.
“He expressed appreciation for the support but also made it clear that he wasn’t happy with what happened to him,” he said.