Protesters trying to change how child abuse is punished in Colorado

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DENVER – A group of strangers who found each other on Facebook are trying to change the punishment for child abuse.

The group came together after watching a viral video of Weld County mother Katrina Kennedy allegedly hit her son and threatening to kill him. She was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of child abuse without injury.

“I got sick to my stomach and I felt very angry,” Harmony Johnson said.

Johnson is a child abuse survivor. She created a Facebook group in reaction to the video aimed at getting justice for the 2-year-old boy and organized a protest at the Colorado State Capitol on Sunday in reaction to Kennedy’s punishment.

“I feel that child abuse needs to become a felony,” Johnson said.

The video got more than 400,000 views on Facebook and YouTube, but Johnson had a difficult time getting supporters to show up in person. She was the only protester for about half an hour.

“To me, I’m making a difference and I am maybe just a small voice, but I’m also a really loud voice,” she said. “We really are planning on changing this law as fast as we can.”

One by one, more supporters showed up. While it was still a small gathering, the group has big hopes for an even bigger change.

“Make sure that [the little boy] has justice and every other child that is a victim of child abuse,” Johnson said.

Right now, the little boy is safe. He is staying with child protective services.

Katrina Kennedy remained in jail Sunday night. She is ordered to have no contact with her son and is due in court Friday.

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