As her daughter whimpered in the corner after a four-minute beating, Shanavia Miller held up the camera, fixed her hair and spoke to the people watching on the teen’s Facebook page.
The live stream, a copy of which has been uploaded to YouTube (warning: it contains graphic language and violence), has been viewed thousands of times and has sparked a debate about corporal punishment and Internet shaming in the Facebook era.
It could also have real-world repercussions. Multiple users have called for Miller’s arrest. Miller could still be criminally charged, according to Darnisha Green, a spokeswoman for the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. Green said people began forwarding the video to her department over the weekend.
“Our special victims unit looked into the case and officers talked to the mother and daughter,” Green said. “Although the daughter said she felt safe in the home, the case has been referred to the Department of Family and Children Services.” No one has been charged in connection with the video, and it was unclear if the social services agency has taken any action.
Both Miller and her 16-year-old daughter, Nia Green, subsequently posted comments about the incident on social media, and both were identified in local news reports about the case.
The video was uploaded over the weekend shortly after Miller discovered that Nia had posted pictures of her boyfriend in a towel on Facebook — pictures her mother believed were snapped in the family’s Savannah home. In Facebook posts, the daughter said she had not told her mother that she was sexually active. Her mother was also outraged that the teen would post racy details about her sex life on Facebook.
The punishment, Miller determined, would go on Facebook, too. At one point, she motions for the person filming to move closer to get a better view.
In between harsh words, she strikes her daughter, sometimes with a stick, other times while the teen cowers in a corner behind a washing machine with her hands over her face.
As the post went viral, both Nia and her mother used the teen’s Facebook page to post their reactions. Nia doesn’t defend the video, but said she shouldn’t have embarrassed her mother:
First Off I Shouldnt Embarrassed My Moma , I Love Her . Yes this is me . Niaaa . I Shouldnt even been doing what i did. No i didnt have vari in my house when she said not to . I was at his house . Im only 16 yrs old . I was gonna open up and tell her that i was having sex . I was just gonna wait a couple days to see how i was gone tell her . I understand why she did what she did . Everybody laughing and making reenactments . Sharing my pictures im seeing everything. I did go to the hospital only because i have (anxiety) attacks & real bad head ache . I embarrassed my moma so she embarrassed me . Im not defending the live video cas when school start next week all eyes on me . Im at work all eyes on me . I kno next time to just keep my business to myself
Her mother says the disciplinary tactic was an act of love.
I love my daughter with all my heart what ever happens after this o well my daughter is not going to disrespect me or herself for nobody that s— Bernie Mac !!! Ain’t nothing change she still my baby girl 💯💪 lesson learned now have a blessed day