Disturbing surveillance video shows man punching toddler in face

BAKERSFIELD (KRON) — A Southern California man has been arrested after authorities released store surveillance video that shows him allegedly punching a toddler in the face.

The incident happened Thursday at about 9:10 p.m. at the Vest Market located at 1831 Chester Ave. in Bakersfield.

Bakersfield police were able to locate Justin Whittington, 23, of Bakersfield, on Friday morning after they posted the surveillance video quickly went viral, officials said.

Justin Whittington, 23, of Bakersfield, was arrested and booked on felony child abuse charges.

The video shows the small child running behind a display case and a man, who police identified as Whittington, is seen chasing after him. The man catches up to the boy and viciously smacks him across the face, dropping him to the ground.

Whittington then yanks the toddler off the ground. A moment later, a woman takes the toddler’s hand and escorts the boy out of the store.

Investigators, using tips from viewers that watched the video on social media, were led to the suspect’s residence where they contacted Whittington and the boy. Their relationship is unknown at this time.

The juvenile was examined by medical aid at the scene and was allowed to stay at the residence, police said.

Whittington was arrested and booked on felony child abuse charges. He is being held at the Kern County Jail on $1 million bail.

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