3-Year-Old Locked in Jail Cell After Mom Is Arrested

Video footage from a Cleveland area jail shows something shocking -- a 3-year-old little girl locked in a cell with her mother, who had been arrested for shoplifting.


In October, Latonya Bass was arrested by police in Strongsville, Ohio, for allegedly attempting to steal over $500 worth of goods from Walmart. She had her daughter with her, so they took her in too.

The video footage shows Bass being booked into jail while holding the toddler and then the two of them being put into a holding cell together. Is it really necessary for a child to be a part of all of that? The mom told the local news that she's "furious" over it and that her daughter is now afraid of cops.

Strongsville police say that they did what they thought was best for the kiddo. They claim they were trying to "reduce the tension" for the child by letting her stay with her mom while she waited for her dad to pick her up. They had allowed Bass to call him, and rather than have the little girl wait with strangers, they kept mother and child together.

I have to side with the police on this one. From the video, it looks like they were the only two people in the cell, so it's not like there was a possible threat from other suspects.

As for not wanting her daughter to witness her arrest and incarceration, maybe Bass should have thought about that before trying to steal a cart full of goods from Walmart, with her little girl perched on top of it all. Police say that she also gave them false information, and there appear to be other pending cases for theft against her.

Sure, it would be great if every police department had a holding room for kids whose parents had behaved badly, filled with toys and a nurturing caregiver with a broad background in early childhood education, but that's just not possible.

Police say they are looking into what other departments do in these types of situations, as this won't be the last time a mom is alone with her kids when arrested.

Honestly, what else could they have done? Sent the tot with an officer to go get a Happy Meal? I have a feeling if they had done something like that, this woman would be complaining that they separated her from her child.

19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports 

How would you have handled this situation?

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