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Columbus, OH 614-360-2942
Huntington, WV 304-519-4354
New Albany, OH 614-721-7726
Toll Free   888-641-0805

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Two sides to every story: The Cincinnati Zoo gorilla exhibit and the boy who fell in

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2016 | Criminal Defense |


Ohio prosecutors are looking into whether they’ll bring criminal charges against the parents whose young boy fell into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo on May 28, as Reuters reports.

Zookeepers shot and killed the gorilla in order to save the boy from harm. Thousands are asking for justice for the gorilla. But there also should be justice for the boy’s parents.

What happened at the Cincinnati Zoo?

The short story is that a three-year-old boy had expressed his desire to get into the gorilla exhibit. With his parents nearby, but apparently inattentive, the boy managed to do so, and when he fell in, a 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe reportedly picked up and dragged the boy through the exhibit.

Zookeepers decided to shoot and kill, rather than use a tranquilizer, fearing Harambe would become aggressive and cause serious harm to the boy. This decision generated plenty of criticism against the Cincinnati Zoo.

But probably the worst targets of criticism have been the boy’s parents.

‘Justice for Harambe’

Thousands of people (490,000+ at this time) have signed a petition on to bring “justice for Harambe,” which asks the Hamilton County government to hold the boy’s parents responsible for what happened.

“We the undersigned,” in the language of the petition, “want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life.”

The petition goes so far as to seek a child protective services investigation of the boy’s home to protect him from other acts of “parental negligence.”

Few seem to have reserved their judgment of the parents

The fact is that accidents happen. What happened at the Cincinnati Zoo may very well be an act of neglect and inattentiveness. On the other hand, what happened might be the result of an overeager boy who succeeded at doing what he set out to do.

Of course, Harambe’s death is extremely unfortunate, but do we know yet whether the situation truly calls for criminal charges against the boy’s parents?

People are quick to call for justice when it comes to other peoples’ mistakes, unless the mistake you’ve made is your own, and you’re the one facing judgment.

There are two sides to every story.



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