A judge granted bond Friday to an Augusta woman seen in a video hitting a child with a belt, encouraging her two preschool children to fight, and laughing and clapping as her 5-year-old knocks her little brother down and repeatedly hits him with her fists.
Tracy Ann Smith, 34, has been in jail since her arrest last month, when the video posted to YouTube was played in an emergency child custody hearing in Richmond County Superior Court.
Judge J. David Roper issued warrants against Smith and granted temporary custody of the 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy to their father. Since her arrest, Smith’s 10-year-old child, who has a different father, has been living with Smith’s parents.
On Friday, Assistant District Attorney Adam Land described the video to Senior Judge William M. Fleming Jr. It shows Smith encouraging the two youngest children to fight – which included choking – and to keep at it when they wanted to stop, Land said.
When the fight ended, Smith is seen grabbing a belt and hitting her oldest son repeatedly as he lay curled in a fetal position, Land said.
Smith’s attorney, Lauminnia Nivens, said Friday that Smith’s family and a neighbor believe she is an exemplary mother who is very involved in her children’s activities.
The judge set a $20,000 bond for Smith and said she is not to have any unsupervised contact with her children while the charges are pending.