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Mom Accused Of Punching Baby, Crowd Surrounds Her Until Police Arrive

Erica Ryan's mug shot. She has no prior criminal record.

Witnesses jumped into action after watching a young mother allegedly punch her baby for refusing to eat.

I know, I know. Nobody wants to read a story about a baby getting punched in the face. This might be an exception if only because the crowd reacted so admirably and made me wonder what I’d do if I witnessed the same thing they did.

Would you?

Here’s what happened.

As the Boston Globe reports, Talia Burrell was sitting across from 25-year-old Erica Ryan when she says she heard the young woman scold her son.

The mother’s complaints escalated into yelling as she hurled obscenities and, witnesses say racial slurs at the boy. And then, Burrell says, the woman drew a closed fist and punched the toddler in the face, bloodying his mouth. The sound could be heard throughout the front end of the bus.

Bus security video supports witness statement. “This individual punches a child to the extent that you can see the force of the punch and his head pops back,” Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Esther Lainé says. “It’s an alarming situation.”

Burrell and several other passengers immediately rushed Erica Ryan, blocked her from getting off the bus and called police. “No one will tell me how to be a parent,” she allegedly told passengers.

Police arrived to “a hostile group circled around a woman holding an infant.” With some difficulty, police separated Ryan and the child from the group of upset people, according to the police report. Ryan reportedly began shouting “No one is going to take my baby” then ran down the street crying hysterically. But after noting dried blood around the baby’s mouth and taking witness statements, Ryan was arrested and taken to jail.

Erica Ryan is apparently claiming her hand slipped when she was feeding the baby. She pleaded not guilty today in Roxbury District Court to an assault and battery charge. A judge set bail at $500 with the stipulation that Ryan stay away from her son if released. By yesterday afternoon, she had not yet posted bail. The baby was treated and is now staying with his grandparents.

The reason the story caught my eye is because of the reaction of the crowd. I love it. It’s stuff like that that gets me all fired up. Ever watch that ABC show What Would You Do? If I witnessed a mom punch her baby in the face it wouldn’t take me but two seconds to get her on the ground and call the police. I wouldn’t hesitate. I think most people would do the same. It’s instinctual to react that way when seeing a baby in danger, don’t you think?

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