“It’s shocking. Yeah, it is surprising,” West Memphis resident Joann Allen told WHBQ.
She’s one of several people across the Mid-South who said they are horrified after a video surfaced Saturday night that authorities said appears to show 21-year-old Alazai Gardner smacking a toddler so hard he hit the floor.
“It’s mind-blowing. I don’t know how somebody could smack a child like that,” echoed a fellow resident, Kelsey Nix.
WHBQ has chosen not to show this video to protect the child’s identity and because some may find it disturbing.
“I’m glad she got in trouble and got caught,” Nix added.
WHBQ spoke to the woman who took the video Sunday. She didn’t want to go on camera for an interview, but she told WHBQ’s Winnie Wright she recorded the video after seeing Gardner smack the child “multiple times.”
The woman said she reported the video to police as soon as it happened.
WHBQ tried getting a copy of the affidavit for more information about Gardner’s arrest, but the West Memphis Police Department was locked Sunday.
“There ain’t no telling how many times she has done that, or how many times she’s going to hurt that child, or actually do something to him,” Allen told WHBQ.
On Saturday night, West Memphis police shared Gardner’s mugshot on Facebook and thanked the community for providing information. Gardner is charged with felony second-degree battery and is being held in the Crittenden County Jail.
Alazai Gardner is in custody and will be booked into the Crittenden County Detention Facility on one felony count of...Posted by West Memphis Police Department on Saturday, February 9, 2019
DHS was called to take the child.
“I’m not even sure the kid needs to be around the family. Obviously, they’ve let it happen, let that go on and haven’t done anything until now,” Nix said, telling us she hopes the boy is safe.