Bradenton couple arrested on child abuse charges

MANATEE -- A Bradenton couple was arrested last weekend after refusing to let deputies into their home, misusing 911, and using one of their children as a shield when a deputy pointed a rifle into their house, arrest reports show.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday, a deputy arrived at a house in the 3700 block of Ninth Street East because of an abandoned 911 call.

The deputy found two children who were home alone.

But their parents, Steven and Tawanna Washington, arrived moments later, told the deputy to leave, and locked the front door.

Other deputies arrived at the house and knocked “multiple times” on the door and windows, the re- port said. Dispatch called the home and told the Washingtons to open the front door.

Steven Washington, 32, told dispatch that deputies would have to “break down the door and come in and get him,” before hanging up the phone, a report shows.

The Washingtons then began to call 911 a total of 10 times. Dispatch told authorities that “the defendants called 911 so many times they could not answer any other calls for service,” an arrest report said.

A sergeant then shattered a window. When a deputy pointed a rifle at Steven Washington, he grabbed one of his children “to block his face and body” and used the child “as a shield,” a report states.

Authorities then entered the home through the broken window. During a brief struggle, Steven Washington was taken to the ground. His wife, Tawanna, 32, tried to stop his arrest. She was pushed back by a deputy, but continued to resist.

Tawanna was pushed one more time, fell on the living room couch, and was arrested.

The Washingtons were each charged with child neglect, child abuse, misusing 911, and resisting an officer without violence.

They are both being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.