GULFPORT, Fla. - The temperature was 91 degrees. It was the middle of the afternoon and the pavement outside was so hot it hurt to touch. But on Wednesday, Gulfport police say Irving Maurice Millard, 32, forced a five-year-old to do "bear crawls" for several blocks on his bare hands.
According to police, Millard said it was punishment for the child losing his shoes.
"Just because they lost some shoes? Something that could be replaced? Heck, I'd have bought him some shoes," said local mother Sander Myles. "Just ridiculous and very unbelievable."
But some of Millard's neighbors say they've seen it before. One woman named Laura who didn't want us to show her face on camera referred to him as the "drill sergeant dad." She said she saw him forcing another child to do the same bear crawl down their street just a few weeks ago.
"That's exactly the kind of thing that you're not supposed to be doing," Laura said.
According to the arrest affidavit, the child was crying from the pain and sweating profusely when police arrived. Sgt. Michael Vandenberg wrote "there was visible redness and swelling to both hands and a blister beginning to form."
"Never would I resort to that type of punishment for my child," Myles said.
Millard has been charged with child abuse. By Thursday night, he had bonded out of the Pinellas County Jail.
Attempts by ABC Action News to reach him on Thursday were unsuccessful.
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