What charges could come from zoo incident?

Posted at 3:58 PM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-02 10:18:41-04

CINCINNATI -- As an investigation continues into how a 3-year-old child climbed into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden over the weekend, some have wondered what charges, if any, may be filed in the case.

The Cincinnati Police Department shared its findings with Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters' office, which will determine whether to file any charges. The investigation was focused on the interaction between the child and his mother leading up to the incident.

Harambe, a male silverback gorilla was shot and killed Saturday in an effort to protect the child.

Deters' office said their review would be done by Friday at the earliest.

Criminal defense attorney Mark Krumbein said he does not believe any criminal charges will be filed.

“It may simply be a situation where the mother just wasn’t watching the child for just a moment or two and the child slipped away,” Krumbein said.

He said if the mother is charged with anything, it would most likely be child negligence.

“I don't think very much will come of it really, legally, criminally, civilly, I doubt if very much will come of it, but you never know,” Krumbein said.

The family released in a statement Wednesday that their son was healthy and asked that any donations be made to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name.


Clarification: An earlier version of this story indicated that the Cincinnati Police Department had concluded its investigation. Department spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy and city spokesman Rocky Merz indicated Wednesday evening that the investigation was not officially finished.