A Lauderdale County man has been indicted for
child abuse after investigators said he used his own child as a human shield.
Investigators said the man had warrants out
for his arrest and he was hiding from police. Agents were serving felony
warrants for domestic violence and possession of a controlled substance.
While searching the home last December, they
found 27-year-old Michael Prater in a crawl space beneath the floor. Officers
said they had their weapons pointed at the crawl space; as they opened the door
in the floorboards, they found Prater lying on his back, holding his
five-year-old son over him like a shield.
Investigators said any time officers have to
enter a home with their weapons drawn, the environment becomes very intense.
They said Prater knowingly put his son in a very dangerous situation which
could have gotten the child seriously hurt or killed.
"I'm a father myself, and I couldn't imagine
holding one of my children over me to shield me from law enforcement. He just
showed no regard for the safety of his child," said James Distefano with the
Lauderdale Co. Domestic Violence Unit.
Prater has an arraignment date scheduled for