CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man who bound his 22-month-old daughter with tape and posted a photo on Facebook was acquitted Tuesday of unlawful restraint and will find out the verdict on a second charge next week.
Cook County Circuit Judge Lawrence Flood acquitted the 22-year-old father of one charge after a bench trial. The Chicago Tribune reports Flood later said he wanted more time to study domestic battery laws before issuing a verdict on that charge on Nov. 8.
Andre Curry, who did not testify on his own behalf, has said he and his daughter were playing on Dec. 13 and that he took the photo without thinking. Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. argued the child was never in danger.
The posting on Facebook showed the girl’s wrists, ankles and mouth bound with tape and a note that read, “This is wut happens wen my baby hits me back,” and a smiley face.
Three witnesses testified during the trial, including Chicago Police Det. Charles Hollendoner, who said he interviewed Curry twice in the days after the incident, and the father insisted the whole thing was meant to be a joke.
“He said he was just playing with the child and didn’t mean any harm,” Hollendoner said. “He said the child was only taped up for a maximum of 30 seconds.”
His sister, Annastasia Curry, testified she was cooking dinner and could hear Curry and her niece laughing in the living room. She testified she went out to check on them at one point and saw the little girl covered with tape.
“She was laughing; he was laughing,” the sister said. “I saw him take the tape off, and I went back in the kitchen.”
Cook County prosecutors contend that by placing the tape over the girl’s mouth, Curry obstructed her breathing and committed a battery. Prosecutors did not present evidence the child was injured.
Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. told the judge Curry is a good father who was just being playful.
“Was this something stupid to do? No question about it,” Adam said. “But they’re asking you to find him guilty of some very serious charges.”
Curry, who can have only supervised visits with the child, could face up to seven years in prison if convicted on the aggravated battery charge.
The girl’s mother, Yesmin Doss, has said she supports Curry.
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