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Gorilla Lives Matter?: Police to Investigate Family of Boy Who Fell into Cincinnati Zoo Exhibit

The moments following an incident where a 3-year-old fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

The moments following an incident where a 3-year-old fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Public outcry over the death of a beloved gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo Saturday has pushed city officials to investigate the family of a young boy who accidentally fell into the gorilla’s habitat.

Michelle Gregg, a mother of four, was visiting the zoo with her children that day when her 3-year-old son managed to hoist himself over the railing and plummeted nearly 12 feet into the park’s Gorilla World exhibit. The child was then dragged around the enclosure by a 450-pound silverback gorilla named Harambe. Zoo officials decided to shoot and kill the endangered animal to save the child’s life.

Now, animal activists are calling for the boy’s parent’s to be investigated and even punished.

According to, Cincinnati Police announced Tuesday that the child’s parents, Michelle Gregg and Deonne Dickerson, would be at the center of an investigation into the cause of Saturday’s frightening incident. Authorities say their review will primarily focus on “the actions of the parents/family that led up to the incident and [is] not related to the operation or safety of the Cincinnati Zoo.”

“After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward,” said police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy. “If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office.”

Police report that the boy was in his mother’s care at the time of the accident. His father was not present at the zoo that day.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office declined to say how long the investigation could take, reports.

According to Reuters, animal rights groups have also made plans to file a federal negligence complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against the zoo.

The unfortunate incident at the Cincinnati Zoo sheds light on a blatant double standard concerning the importance of animal lives in comparison to human lives, specifically African-American ones.

No one seems to bat an eyelash when unarmed Black Americans lose their lives at the hands of white policemen. Yet following the death of Harambe, animal rights activists and celebrities alike flooded social media to condemn the boy’s family and the Cincinnati Zoo for choosing to shoot the gorilla. An online petition seeking “Justice for Harambe” has already garnered over 400,000 signatures, according to

“Please sign this petition to encourage the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Child Protection Services, and Cincinnati Police Department hold the parents responsible,” it states.

Outcry over the death of an animal almost always seems to trump outcry over the death of a Black person.

“The bet is that if there was something called Gorilla Lives Matter, countless numbers would do something that they would never dreaming doing with Black Lives Matter, and that’s join it,” author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote in a Eurweb article published Wednesday.

Hutchinson also cites the case of former NFL star Michael Vick, who was convicted of operating a dog-fighting ring back in 2007. The author says that although Vick served his time for the heinous crime, fans and animal lovers were still unforgiving when he returned to the league.

“The fact that Vick was black undoubtedly made him a soft and inviting target for prolonged condemnation, and it was said that if he had been a white quarterback, he would have gotten a pass,” he stated.

The author asserts that although the director of the Cincinnati Zoo is white, he still received major backlash from animal lovers everywhere for defending the killing of Harambe.

“The issue for them was not whether the killing was plausible, defensible, and justified to save a life, but simply that a beloved animal was killed,” Hutchinson stated.

What people are saying

12 thoughts on “Gorilla Lives Matter?: Police to Investigate Family of Boy Who Fell into Cincinnati Zoo Exhibit

  1. Because to these people, the giorilla's life is/was more important that that child.

  2. Donovan Nicholson as a white woman I've tried everything in power to educate my family and myself on racism, and white privilage, police brutality, what have you..I'm trying. That is all they do is holler at me for lecturing 🙂 It is obviously not an uphill battle at home but it is truly everywhere else. Racism and hate are so alive and well…the filthy underbelly of some kind of evil i dont comprehend. I think what bugs me is that as just a mom, black or white, the first thing i would have done was assess the danger walking up up that enclosure. We are some serious hand holders around here, well, cause I dont want my kid to be eaten by a lion, or to drown in a lake, whatever. I agree the zoo absolutely has some serious explaning to do just on the simple arguement that there will be dipshit moments when parents or whomever are not thinking and watching and terrible things can happen in those moments. We as a family will never understand why a fire hose or a tranquilizer would not have sufficed. There is only one of that little baby boy, and I undertand that out of 8 billion people on Earth he is special and unique. There are only a few hundred of those gentle giants left on the planet and one must remeber that we all inhabit this beautiful planet, Harambe had been in that enclosure with the boy for over ten minutes without any serious injury to the child whatsoever…they could have used a firehose and given it a few seconds more. The instant rush to his death with the proverbial bullet to the head is just another crushing example of racism and how every Earthling on this planet is living under it and in a police state shoot to kill mentality. Its frightening and disheartening to say the least.

  3. I'm thanking God the baby is alright, and praying the woman is charged with neglect for that child which resulted in the death of that gentle giant who was doing nothing threatening at all with that baby other than protecting it. I do think it is wrong that they are trying to post the fathers felony record all over the place…that is racist, but this..nope. Still it does bother me that this woman supposedly watches other peoples children for a living?? You better believe that would make me question my daycare. It would not matter what ethenticity that mother was, she was negligent and one of the rarest animals on the planet is lost because of that said neglicence. This was not …my child was out of my sight for a second, this is someone who clearly knew their child wanted to play with the gorillas and that mother was doing something other than watching and protecting a rambunctious toddler. You are at a zoo not your backyard ,you dont look away, you dont let the children run along ahead of you while your lazy ass catches up, you dont snap photos, you dont talk on the phone, you watch your damn kids since you are twenty feet away from wild gorillas! You hold the child that is trying to wander, plain and simple. Buy a backpack leash if you know your child runs away ,which obviously she did. And it is not just animal activist who are angered by her negligence it's half the damn world it seems. Give me ten kids I would lay my life on the line that not one of them ends up in a gorilla enclosure. I have two of my own, four step children, and a grandson…not one of them ended up in an animal enclosure when we visited the zoo. It is a parents job to be extra viligent in public places especially places that could harbour danger.

  4. Tonya Brady Beachy I could tell from your original comment that your heart is in the right place and I agree with you about taking good care and attention of the little ones in your charge. My daughters are 20 and 22 and still tell me I am over protective! All I was remarking on was the fact that I have hardly ever met a parent who hasn't had that moment when your heart leaps into your mouth when the little devil has made a sudden move. The move so quickly! I remember my wife and I being at a fair with our two girls and we knew someone who was working there. We just paused to say hello and shake hands, and next thing, one of them had disappeared from sight. Luckily, she had just become interested in some drumming that was going on in a nearby tent and, out of curiosity, wondered into it – only a couple of yards away, in the end. But, oh my gosh, that moment when she was out of our sight, I died a thousand deaths! My friend was working as security there and raised the alarm immediately and also reasured us that his colleagus at the entrance would more than likely notice if a strange person was trying to leave with a child not their own. When we found her a few minutes later, she could see the absolute panic on our faces and was looking at us curiously, as if to say, "mom and dad, what's the matter with you; I only went into the tent to listen to the drummers." But I tell you my dear friend, those couple of minutes aged me ten years!

  5. In actual fact, any question of negligence should be leveled at the Zoo. There should be no chance of anyone falling into the enclosure of a dangerous animal. This is not to exonarate the parent if she was neglectful. The stuff about the father's criminal past is just straight racism; but who expects anything else from Fox news? If that baby was killed by police action, most of the people making the great hue and cry would have eaten their supper without a second thought about the matter. It is disgusting but black people are so dehumanised in your society that the attempt to besmirch the name of the parents is an attempt to say that the main reason the child died is because the parents are black. I have not seen the likes of this attitude since Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa

  6. "the death of that gentle giant who was doing nothing threatening at all with that baby other than protecting it." Yeah that dragging the child through the water was really doing the child good? In the words of another, "She is not a bad parent, but she had a bad day, and it happened in front of the world, so people will have opinions."

  7. I ifnd it interesting that those in the domiannt soceity seem to have more outage at a Gorilla being shot/killed then all the Black men women and children being shot killed assaulted and raped by White supremacists then I have to look at you as being a White supremacist also.

  8. Tonya Brady Beachy Ohh please these parents are innocent… Any parent can loose their child for a few seconds… thats being human… not neglect!

  9. What are they going to do, bring the gorilla back?

  10. People, STFU. You have no idea what you would have done in this situation. Easy to say what when you know the outcome from this incident, but I can tell by many of your posts you don't even have the facts. I don't blame the parents or the zoo. Shit happens people, get over it you snivling little bitches.

  11. How many times were you dropped on your head as a baby?

  12. Exactly Stephen. So pathetic what our country is turning into.

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