A St. Petersburg dad who twice pushed an 8-year-old boy face down to the ground at a school playground was arrested for child abuse, according to a police report.
Kevin Johnson, 34, said he was just trying to defend his two-year-old son, Connor, from bullies while the boy played at a Westgate Elementary playground.
“He was being bullied and I did what I felt I had to do at the time,” said Johnson. The dad said he’s protective of Connor because the boy is autistic and has a heart condition.
“When my son was going to go down the slide, he stopped himself midway and started screaming. My daughter told me, ‘Oh, there’s a bug on the slide and he’s afraid of the bug.’ So, the other two boys started making fun of him because he’s afraid of the bug,” he said.
Johnson said he witnessed the eight-year-old boys hatch a plan to bully his son.
“I saw the kids whispering to each other and they were scooping up beetles and ants into their hands, and one of them said, ‘Do it, just do it.’ “I looked at him and said, ‘Don’t do it! You stay away from my son!'”
The dad said one of the boys began chasing Connor and he warned him again to stop. “At that point, the kid stopped, and looked at me, and then turned around real quick, ran, pushed my son down, and threw the bugs on him,” Johnson said. “That’s when I got up and tried to get him away from my son.”