Michelle Gregg, the mother of the 3-year-old boy who fell into Harambe the gorilla’s enclosure, will not face any charges.
After getting past a 3-foot fence, the boy fell nearly 15 feet into a shallow moat and was then dragged by the gorilla that weighed more than 400 pounds. Video of the frightening moment was posted online and went viral.
The set of circumstances led to the shooting of Harambe and resulted in a massive blowback against Gregg via social media. A change.org petition demanding that the mother be investigated for child neglect had nearly half-a-million signatures.
Hamilton County prosecutor, Joseph T. Deters, announced today that Gregg will face no charges. He was adamant in defending the mother in his explanation:
“This mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other kids with her and turned her back… I’ve gotten dozens, if not hundreds, of emails about this case, and if anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids. Because they can and they do. For instance, if she had been in the bathroom smoking crack and let her kids run around in the zoo that would be a different story but that was not what was happening here. She was being attentive to her children by all witness accounts and the 3-year-old just scampered off.”
Deters also unequivocally defended the actions of the Zoo. “This is a beautiful little boy and had they not acted and this animal behaved sometimes like animals behave, we could have had a genuine tragedy here… The one thing I will say, the zoo lost a beautiful animal, one that many people in this area have enjoyed watching for a long time, but it’s still an animal. It does not equate human life. And they felt that this boy’s life was in jeopardy, and they made the painful choice to do what they did,” he said.
The Gregg family issued the following statement, “This is one more step in allowing us to put this tragic episode behind us and return to our normal family life. We extend thanks to all of those who have been praying for us and who have supported us through this trying ordeal and praise to God for His mercy and grace.”