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MN toddler might never walk again after assault by mom’s boyfriend

Paul Walsh and Randy Furst, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –

A 21-year-old man has been charged with throwing his girlfriend’s 21-month-old daughter onto a bed “like a sack of potatoes” in their north Minneapolis home, leaving the child facing a fate of possibly never walking again.

Eric P. Boone was charged Friday with first-degree assault and is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail ahead of a court hearing Tuesday.

The girl’s medical specialists have indicated that “a possible prognosis could result in the victim being a quadriplegic and/or need a permanent tracheotomy to breathe,” police said in announcing the charges.

The girl’s mother told police that her daughter would cry whenever she was around Boone and had “blood clots” in her eyes “all the time,” the criminal complaint read.

Others who live in the house told police they have seen Boone hit the child and have seen the girl with broken blood vessels in her eyes, according to the complaint.

The mother added that Boone choked her recently for about 30 seconds to the point that she couldn’t breathe, the complaint added.

Tonjia Shafer, Boone’s aunt, said that the mother’s name is Shanise Pruitt, 21, and the injured girl is Shawny Bradshaw. Shafer said that Boone and Pruitt have lived in her basement for about six months.

“She was a happy baby, she was always talking to me and joking,” Shafer said.

According to the criminal complaint:

Officers were called to a home in the 2400 block of Logan Avenue N. shortly before 1 p.m. on Oct. 26 regarding a child not breathing. They saw a 21-month-old girl being attended by medical personnel.

The girl had swelling and bruising around an eye, her chin and neck. An ambulance took her to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

Boone lived in the basement with Pruitt, Shawny and the couple’s 5-week-old boy.

Boone told officers at the scene that he was asleep in the same bed with the girl and the newborn. When the girl woke up, Boone added, he discovered that she was not breathing. He ran upstairs from the basement and told others who live there to call 911.

He later told police that when the newborn began to cry, he pushed on the girl’s stomach to reach the infant and later noticed she was not breathing.

Three days later, a county child protection investigator learned that Boone had thrown the girl on the bed out of anger because she fell out of his hands as he walked down the stairs with her.

In a follow-up interview with police, Boone said the girl squirmed out of his arms twice as he went down the stairs. He caught her the first time and was upset because he had told her to be still.

As he reached the bottom of the stairs, she squirmed again and fell to the floor. He picked up the girl and threw her about 5 feet face-first onto the bed “like a sack of potatoes.”

The girl’s doctors indicated that her injuries — which include a high cervical-cord injury — could have happened from being thrown onto a bed or during other violent acts.

Shafer said that Boone had asked her to look after the infant while he gave Shawny a bath.

She said she was upstairs, on her computer, when her daughter ran upstairs and said, “Mom, call 911, Shawny can’t breathe.” She same she came running down the stairs and Boone started giving Shawny CPR. She said Boone revived her, but she appeared to stop breathing again. She said police, firefighters and paramedics arrived, and were able to revive Shawny again.

Boone’s criminal history in Minnesota includes non-felony convictions for disorderly conduct, tampering with a motor vehicle and interference with a police officer.

Shafer said that Boone could be a “good dad” and patient, but there were times when the couple was in the basement and she would hear the little girl being slapped. She did not know which parent was doing it, but she said that Pruitt left the discipline to Boone. “They both yelled at her,” Shafer recalled.

She said that Boone was not in good shape when Pruitt went off to the cosmetology school appointment, because he had been awake constantly, taking care of the infant who was crying all the time. “Eric had not been asleep for three days,” she said.

Shafer said both Boone and Pruitt needed some help. “It doesn’t matter whether the system punishes him or not,” she said. “God will punish him.”

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