Father who threw one-year-old daughter off roof of their home during protest avoids jail time
Warning: Distressing content
The South African man who made headlines after pictures of him throwing a baby off a roof went viral has been allowed to walk free.
The 38-year-old man, whose name has not been released to protect the child's identity, threw his daughter off the top of a shack in an illegal township in order to stop it from being demolished on April 12, 2018. He was later charged with attempted murder, Daily Mail reports.
The unidentified individual was protesting against the destruction of dozens of shacks at a township in Kwadwesi near Port Elizabeth in South Africa when he took the baby and climbed on top of their home defying authorities.
On Thursday, he received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to child abuse in the New Brighton Magistrate's Court as part of a plea deal that saw the state drop charges of attempted murder. He was then handed a sentence of one year in prison, suspended for five years, along with a 5,000 Rand ($336) fine.
Footage shot during the protest shows township locals throwing eggs at the father and chanting: "Throw, throw, throw..."
A police officer then rushed forward to grab the father but he was too late and the father managed to throw the toddler.
The girl was fortunately caught by the police officers standing below. She did not suffer any injuries.
Meanwhile, the father was apprehended and later charged with attempted murder.
This comes after the Joe Slovo township in Kwadwesi ordered 90 illegally built shacks to be demolished. Over 150 protesters began rioting against the demolition throwing bricks and closing off roads with burning tires.
The protests turned so violent that the South African Police Service had to send in reinforcements to ensure the safety of the demolition team.
The officers had almost contained the situation when this man climbed onto the roof of his shack and threatened to throw his daughter to death if the team did not leave his home alone.
Police devised a rescue plan after negotiators at the scene were unable to talk him down. They were eventually able to safely recover the toddler after she was thrown off by her father.
"At about 10.40am, a 38-year-old man climbed onto the roof of one of the structures and held a one-year-old girl in his hands," police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge told local media. "This was done to force the team not to demolish the structure. Due to the dangerous threat to the safety of the child police set out a plan to rescue the little girl and arrest the male and one of our officers successfully caught the girl as she was flung. The 38-year-old father has been charged with the attempted murder of his daughter and the case is being handled by the Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offences unit."
According to Captain Beetge, the baby has now been handed back to her mother, 35, and local social services are looking at their case to ensure the child's safety.
Responding officers were praised by Motherwell Cluster Commander Major General Dawie Rabie.
"It is shocking that a father would attempt to sacrifice his own child for the sake of delaying the demolishing of an illegal shack structure but thankfully the girl was saved," he said. "The father will face the full force of the Law for his actions."
Following the incident, the demolition team moved in and proceeded to destroy the 90 structures that were illegally built on government land.