The single mother of a toddler who was locked in an active washing machine in a video that has gone viral said on TODAY Thursday that she plans on pressing charges against the baby sitter who watched as the ordeal unfolded.
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Sakia David, the mother of 1-year-old Saimeir Bush, did not learn of the incident until she saw the video at midnight Tuesday on the local news after she got home from work. The man and woman seen in the surveillance video from the Federal Laundromat in Camden, N.J., were initially presumed to be the boy’s parents. David identified the woman as the girlfriend of the boy’s father, and still is unable to identify the man who placed her son inside the washing machine while playing a game of peekaboo.
The door locked shut, and Saimeir tumbled around inside the active machine as the woman screamed for help. An alert employee shoved two tables out of the way and hit a circuit breaker to disable the machine, then pried the door open to remove the boy, who was unhurt except for a few bruises.
‘It’s her fault too’
David told the Philadelphia NBC News affiliate on Wednesday that it was an accident and that she was not pressing charges. But on Thursday, she reversed her stance.
“I just want to tell Sandra (the baby sitter) this is not over, because everybody said I wouldn’t be pressing charges and I am,’’ David told Ann Curry. “I left my child in her custody. She sat there and watched him put my baby in the washer, so it’s both of their fault. I don’t care how much you say how much it’s not her fault, it’s her fault too.’’
The individuals involved have not been charged with any crime by authorities because the child is unhurt and the case is closed, the Camden Prosecutor’s Office told NBC News. In a subsequent TODAY segment Thursday during which TODAY’s Professionals discussed the incident, lawyer Star Jones opined that taking the case to court would be “not the best use of judicial time and money.”
“In this case, there is no way to show that there was any criminal intent on the part of these two people,’’ trial attorney Rikki Klieman told NBC News. “They were stupid, not criminal.’’Video: Adults in laundromat video not child’s parents (on this page)
The prosecutor’s office did refer all the information to the state’s Department of Youth and Family Services, but David said Wednesday she wants the two people to “be punished and sent to jail.’’
The boy’s father, who is incarcerated, was informed of the situation Wednesday. “He was going off,’’ David said. “He said he wants charges filed.’’
‘It happened so fast’
The baby sitter told David that Saimeir had suffered bruises from falling down two steps, and was checked out at the local hospital. David saw the video on television and immediately called the baby sitter, who denied it was her in the video. David and the baby sitter have not spoken since that initial denial.
“She just said it wasn't her,’’ David told NBC News. “So I took it like, ‘All right, then it might not be her.’ But when the cops came this morning to my house and told me to come outside, I was like ‘Ughhh. It was my baby.’’’Video: Man places toddler in washing machine (on this page)
In a phone interview with NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate Wednesday night, the baby sitter, who did not want her identity revealed, said the man in the video is a family friend and that it was an accident.
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“It’s like it happened so fast,’’ she said. “All I know is I heard the click (of the machine), and I turned around, and I saw it and I panicked, like I didn’t know what to do.
“(The man) thought he was playing peekaboo. He didn’t do it intentionally, and I told him, ‘You don’t play like that,’ and now I guess he understands that.’’Video: Mom of tot tossed in washer: I’m pressing charges (on this page)
David said she plans on taking her son back to the hospital for more tests to make sure he did not suffer any type of head injury. The initial reports taken from the video had the child as being trapped in the machine for just over a minute, but David told Curry that her son was in there for 5 minutes.
David also hopes to get a chance to thank the laundromat employee for his quick thinking.
“I want to say to him, ‘Thank you,’’’ David said. “If it wasn’t for him, my baby probably would be dead now. I don’t like discussing the tape. It just makes me real sad … watching my baby spin around like that.’’
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