Racism Accusations in Shanesha Taylor Case Based on Inaccurate Information
Catalina Clouser (left) and Shanesha Taylor, two local parents suspected of child abuse.
By now, you've likely heard the story of Shanesha Taylor, who was arrested on child-abuse charges for leaving her kids in a hot car during a job interview.
People across the country who don't think Taylor committed a crime have since signed petitions and donated money to Taylor, although it seems that some people have misconceptions about the case.
Blogs and social-media posts have gone viral comparing the fate of Taylor, who is black, to another local woman convicted of child abuse, who's white. The problem is, the comparison is completely inaccurate.
Take the above image for example, which has 1,389 retweets and 457 favorites on Twitter.
Addressing the left half of the image, the county attorney said Taylor's not homeless (she doesn't have her own home, but she's not living on the streets), and she has not been sentenced to jail. In fact, she hasn't been sentenced at all. She's not even in jail, as county court records show she posted bond.
On the right, the story is essentially correct (according to court documents, the child fell off shortly after she took off, but she didn't notice her child was missing until she'd driven 12 miles down the road). She was sentenced to 16 years of probation, plus a three-month deferred jail sentence, which means she probably won't be serving jail time if she complies with her probation for the next 16 years.
Child Protective Services also took Clouser's child at the time, which is not mentioned in the misleading image above. However, CPS doesn't share many details about cases, so we don't know how long the children were taken away from the parents in either case.
There are other comparisons being made between these two cases by bloggers and whatnot, and they're simply incomparable. The odds of Taylor being sentenced to jail time are probably very slim.
The case may sound like a petty arrest to people from across the country who don't understand that you simply don't leave a child in a car in Phoenix, because it's going to be hotter in the car than it is outside. The arrest may also seem petty to people who live here, who see all the truly horrific child-abuse cases -- many of which have resulted in a child's death -- which really don't seem like the same crime as leaving your child in a hot car.
However, it's not hard to be sympathetic to Taylor's case without embellishing the facts. Additionally, based on the actual accounts of what's happened in each case to this point, allegations of racism just make no sense.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.