Georgia father James Morris said he was finishing up some grocery shopping with his son last week when they had a disturbing encounter with another customer in the check-out line.
According to WSB-TV, it started when Morris’ 2-year-old son asked his father for a candy bar at self check-out in a Kroger store. The father said:
“No tantrum thrown at all, he was literally just asking me for candy.”
Morris said that he told the toddler “no” twice, and that was enough to set off a 62-year-old man who overheard their conversation, WCMH reports.Screenshot/WSB-TV
Before the father could process what was happening, Juan Guevara Martinez had grabbed the child and spanked him on the rear several times. Morris said:
“He grabbed my son’s left hand, smacked it, then turned him around and smacked him on the rear-end. I want to say three times.”
Martinez allegedly said that was how they punished “kids in Mexico.” Morris then took his child out of the store and an employee contacted police.
Authorities said they could smell alcohol on Martinez when they went to arrest him, and body cam footage shows that he tried to pull away from officers, WSB-TV reports.
He eventually had to be forced onto the ground by police. They later confirmed that he had been drinking.Coweta County Sheriff’s Office)
Morris said he was just left in shock by the whole incident. The dad told WCMH:
“That’s my son and at the end of the day, I’ll discipline him how I believe he needs to be disciplined. I was shocked. I was scared. Of course I was angry… and defensive. That’s my heart.”
Martinez was ultimately charged with cruelty to children, obstruction of officers, battery, and disorderly conduct. He’s currently being held in the Coweta County jail on a $3,390 bond.
He’s also been banned from the grocery store where the incident occurred, the Times-Herald reports.