March 11, 2008 — -- A 22-year-old Florida mother who was videotaped using a pressure hose on her toddler at a car wash said she was shocked when police charged her.
Niurka Ramirez said that she didn't want to spank her 2-year-old when she began having a temper tantrum at the car wash and that she was only trying to calm her daughter.
"She was having a kicking and screaming attack on the car," she said on "Good Morning America" today.
So, Ramirez turned the hose to the child.
"[I thought] she would relax. The water would calm her. It would relax her," she said.
What Ramirez didn't realize was that a surveillance camera was capturing the event. The videotape made its way to the media and a search began for the mystery woman on the tape. Ramirez turned herself in to Orlando police a day after the video made the rounds on television stations.
She was charged Friday with child abuse and was released Saturday on $1,000 bail, according to The Associated Press.
Ramirez, who currently is pregnant, blamed television for her arrest.
"I think it just happened because it's the media," she said.
While she admitted wetting her daughter, Ramirez said the hose was not on high pressure, which could be powerful enough to tear flesh.
But the car wash manager who was there at the time said she believes the hose was on high pressure.
Marlene Diaz said she initially didn't think the hose was on high, but after watching the video, she is convinced it was.
"From the video in the beginning, it's high pressure. I stand by that 100 percent," Diaz said.
Diaz said she witnessed the incident between Ramirez and her daughter.
"I heard the child screaming and it was a horrific scream," Diaz said. "She kind of stopped a little bit and started talking to the child in Spanish telling the child, 'you're going to respect me. You're not going to treat me bad. I'm your mother.'"
Ramirez maintained she didn't pull the water gun's trigger and said if she had the evidence it would be visible.
"She would have been bruised, she would have been cut. She would have been screaming," Ramirez said.
A nurse reported the girl had no visible injuries 11 days after the incident, according to the AP.
The Department of Social Services visited Ramirez's home, but found no reason to remove the child, said Ramirez's lawyer Circe Zamora on "Good Morning America" today.
Zamora said today Ramirez now knows what she did was inappropriate.
"We would agree it was wrong," Zamora said. "She'll be taking parenting classes."
Even with controversy and criminal charges surrounding her, Ramirez said she believes she is a good parent.
"I am a great mother. I love my daughter to death," she said.