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The family that fights together ... well, gets in serious trouble together. The mother involved in a fistfight in an Indiana Walmart has been charged with felony child neglect after video of the fight went viral.
On the video below, Amber Stephenson can be heard imploring her 6-year-old son to join the fight, which allegedly erupted after another female shopper, Rebecca Mills, called a store employee the N-word.
Child Neglect on Aisle C
Prosecutors charged Stephenson with felony child neglect, which under Indiana law is defined as placing a dependent "in a situation that endangers the dependent's life or health." You can judge for yourself how close her son (named Johnny, judging from the audio) is to the physical altercation in the video:
If convicted, Stephenson could face as many as three years in prison and $10,000 in fines. While she could claim she was only defending herself, Stephenson's repeated pleas for her son to "punch her in her f**king face" as both knowingly and intentionally placing him in harm's way.
Delinquency of a Minor on Aisle D
That robust encouragement is what probably led to Stephenson's second charge, contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Any person over 18 can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor if he or she "knowingly or intentionally encourages, aids, induces, or causes a person less than eighteen (18) years of age to commit an act of delinquency." Acts of delinquency are acts that would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult.
As you can see from the video, Johnny strikes Mills several times, which would probably classify as battery under Indiana law. While state definitions may vary, battery is generally defined as an intentional and offensive or harmful touching of another person without his or her consent.
The contributing charge is a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana, which could have Stephenson facing up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Both women have been banned from the Beech Grove, Indiana Walmart.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.