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Mom speaks out after her son's father arrested for child abuse caught on video

Photo: Images submitted to WZTV by Nia Snow

MOUNT. JULIET, Tenn. (WZTV) - A man from Tennessee has been charged with child abuse and neglect after authorities say home surveillance video shows the suspect kicking and hitting his six-year-old child.

The six-year-old’s mother, Nia Snow, tells WZTV that this isn’t the first time the boy, Damien, has been abused.

Snow says when he was two months old, he was also abused by an ex-boyfriend. That incident resulted in 18 fractured bones, and she said that man is still behind bars.

Now, Damien’s father, Randy Dickens, has been charged with child abuse and neglect for an incident involving the six-year-old.

“It’s the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Snow said.

According to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a house call in reference to child abuse/neglect Sunday.

Snow said Dickens started spanking Damien for bad behavior at school when the situation escalated.

"All of a sudden, his whole body just started going into it,” Snow said. “He was drooling out of his mouth, he was putting so much effort into it, that's how bad it was."

The child's mom told officers she had video evidence taken from the front porch showing her ex-husband striking the little boy with an open hand multiple times and kicking him in the abdomen.

Deputies watched the video and saw Dickens abusing the child, even shoving him to the ground at one point. The child then tried to get away, retreating to his room, where Dickens is accused of following the boy and kicking him again.

"Damien ran in there to hide underneath his pillow, and Randy comes in and smacks him again in the face and kicks him again.

Snow said she secretly called police, and persuaded Dickens to leave the house to buy groceries so she could show deputies the video proof before Dickens could destroy it.

"The whole time it was happening, he was screaming my name,” Snow said.

She said she didn’t want to confront Dickens, because she says he legally carries a handgun.

"I tried to do things the right way,” Snow said. “I did what the police told me to do, and I didn't want nobody getting shot, and I knew that's what would've happened, so I tried to be smart."

Dickens wasn't home at the time deputies were called to the incident and refused to return to the residence. The suspect later turned himself in early Monday morning.

Two rifles were also seized from the scene due to the nature of the crime and deputies reached out to the Department of Children's Services.

Snow says Dickens has since bonded out of jail, with restrictions that he cannot come into contact with Snow or Damien.

She said Dickens has physically abused her as well.

Now, she’s encouraging abuse victims to speak up, no matter how hard it may be.

"It does something to your kids, whether you see it or not, and you might feel it, but you have to do something about it, because it affects them, and something like this will end up happening,” Snow said.
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