OMAHA, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A toddler in a controversial video posted online by the Omaha police union was placed in protective custody with three other children in the home, police said.
Police said they removed the children Wednesday out of concern for their safety and well-being, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Omaha Police Officers Association President John Wells said the video showed how the cycle of violence and "thuggery" is perpetuated in the city. In the video, a man off-camera swears at the boy and asks him to swear back. The boy does and raises his middle finger to the camera during the video.
A police spokeswoman said investigators were able to identify toddler and the adults. The police department's Child Victim Unit assisted Child Protective Services in the investigation.
Willie Hamilton, executive director of Black Men United in Omaha, and others have criticized the police union for its actions, CNN said.
"For them to take a video out of context -- a 2-year-old who doesn't have the brain capacity to know what's going on -- and to say that this child, because two adults acted inappropriately, is going to end up in a life of crime is totally inappropriate," Hamilton said.
Wells called the video "disturbing" and "offensive, CNN said. On the association's website, the union said video was from a "local thug's public Facebook page."
"We here at OmahaPOA.com viewed the video and we knew that despite the fact that it is sickening, heartbreaking footage, we have an obligation to share it to continue to educate the law-abiding public about the terrible cycle of violence and thuggery that some young innocent children find themselves helplessly trapped in," the union wrote in a post accompanying the video.
"Now while we didn't see anything in this video that is blatantly 'illegal,' we sure did see a lot that is flat out immoral and completely unhealthy for this little child from a healthy upbringing standpoint," the commentary said.