January 20th, 2014
04:00 PM ET

Don Lemon on 'Thug Cycle': "I’m a truth-teller, not a race-protector"

A video of an African-American toddler unleashing a barrage of profanity has gone viral in recent days after a Omaha, Nebraska police union posted it on their website . Their reasoning? The union claims it is an example of a continuing trend, which they call 'the thug cycle.'

An outcry ensued from the public, accusing the police union of being racist and perpetuating stereotypes of black men as criminals.

The face of the minor was not blurred and was originally posted on Facebook by a relative who found the child's profanity humorous.

We caught up with CNN's Don Lemon, who was OutFront on the 'thug cycle' story, and sparked a discussion about the word 'thug.'

OUTFRONT: Why was the story of Omaha 'Thug Cycle' video important to you?

LEMON: The story was important to me obviously because it’s so outrageous. That could have been me or my two great-nephews. One is just out of diapers. The other is a new born. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever treating them like that. I don’t know what I’d do to someone if they even tried. And they’re not even my children. Every child should have advocates. And the only way I know to advocate for that child and others like him is through my work. And that means doing the story and shining a light on it.


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Filed under: 'Thug cycle' video • News
January 10th, 2014
08:44 PM ET

Mom defends toddler in "Thug Cycle" video

"He's a smart little boy. All that cussing that he did, he doesn't do that," mom says.

The mother of the so-called "thug" toddler is breaking her silence, claiming she didn't film her 2-year-old unleashing a slew of obscenities.

The video went viral after the Omaha Police Union re-posted from the family's Facebook page.

The video appears to contradict the mom's story.

"He had a clean diaper, the house was clean and like they said, kids curse, every kid does it," the mother told CNN affiliate KETV in an exclusive interview. CNN does not identify juveniles in such stories. The mother is 16.

The Department of Health and Human Services first got involved with this family back in June, worried that the children were unsupervised.

The family then was moved to a new home in August. Then in October, there was a shooting at the house.
The two-year-old child was hit by bullet shrapnel. Four others were injured including the mom, then just 16-years-old.

The family was moved again to a new home in November. Then in December, police raided a party at that home searching for a shooting suspect.

OutFront: Sgt. John Wells, President of the Omaha Police Union, which posted the video and attorney Natalie Jackson.

Filed under: 'Thug cycle' video • Justice • News