Off-Duty Police Officer Stops Disney World Guest From Beating 5-Year-Old Son Who Asked for Lightsaber
An off-duty police officer saved the day after a 5-year-old was being beaten by his father while vacationing at Walt Disney World, according to reports.
The incident took place last month, as revealed by recently released documents.
Content warning below // child abuse
On April 27, 2022, 49-year-old Fernando Cunha was arrested for child abuse according to an arrest record. The Brazil native was allegedly angered when his 5-year-old autistic, adopted son asked for a "lightsaber-type sword," most likely a reference to the lightsabers guests can create at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge inside the Hollywood Studios theme park.
According to the report, Cunha began physically hitting the young boy until Tyler White, an FBI Task Force Officer and Southaven, Miss. Police Department detective who was also vacationing at the resort, intervened.
White reportedly told officials at the scene that he heard the boy sobbing near Toy Story Land's Alien Swirling Saucers ride and that he witnessed Cunha's arm come down on the boy “in a striking motion” while the man held his son on the ground.
White warned him to stop assaulting the child and when he did not listen, he restrained him.
White's wife, Chelsea, "advised that she saw the older man kneeing the child while dragging him on the concrete. Chelsea indicated she saw the older man drag the child behind the [souvineer ID tag] engraving station.”
Chelsea also reportedly stated that the child was attempting to get away from his father and that they witnessed him kneeing the child twice and striking him with his fist three times.
White told the father that he was a member of law enforcement and that he could not leave the father and son until local authorities arrived. He was later recognized for his heroics by the Southaven Police Department.
Cunha has reportedly pleaded not guilty.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of child abuse, help is available through the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. To speak to someone on the phone, dial 1-800-422-4453.