Police say Augusta mother made kids fight for YouTube video

An Augusta woman involved in a child custody case was arrested Friday after a YouTube video of her encouraging her preschool-age children to fight and beating her older son was played for the judge.

Superior Court Judge J. David Roper ordered the arrest of Tracy Ann Smith, 34, on two counts of cruelty to children. Smith is still in jail without bond. According to an incident report, the video showed Smith’s 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter in a fight that lasted several minutes. Smith is in the video at times, laughing and clapping her hands as the children punched and kicked at each other and the boy cried.

The video also shows Smith picking up a belt and hitting her 10-year-old son. The older child was hit nine times on the right side of his body while he was lying on a couch. He can be heard yelling, “What did I do?”

The judge granted the father of the two younger children temporary custody. Because the domestic relations case didn’t involve the older child, Roper did not have the authority to alter the 10-year-old’s guardianship. The boy’s grandfather, however, intends to go through Juvenile Court to gain custody.

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