A California woman charged with misdemeanors for encouraging her daughter to attack an opponent at a youth basketball tournament last year has been ordered to apologize and pay more than $9,000 in restitution.
The incident, which was caught on video, occurred during a game between the SoCal Blaze and Dream Academy teams at the MAP Sports Facility in Garden Grove on Nov. 7.
The attacker, who played for Dream Academy, fell backwards onto SoCal Blaze’s Lauryn Ham after attempting a three-pointer in the last few minutes of the game. After both players got up and walked across the court, the attacker’s mother, identified as Latira Shonty Hunt, allegedly yelled, “You better hit her for that!”
Hunt’s daughter then swung at Lauryn’s head, causing her to fall down. The 15-year-old suffered a concussion and a bruised neck and was rushed to a treatment facility.
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“I don’t believe the child should be allowed to play basketball for the foreseeable future until she can get help. The mother should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for inciting violence,” Lauryn’s mother, Alice, told NextShark.
The attacker, who is also a minor, has not been identified. Instead, Hunt, 44, was charged with one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one misdemeanor count of battery.
“It is unconscionable that a parent would encourage her child to engage in violence during a sporting event,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said at the time. “Youth sports are invaluable in teaching our children discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship. But a win at all costs mentality that is completely devoid of fair play, respect, and civility is disgusting. We as parents have the fundamental responsibility to raise our children to be good human beings who treat others with kindness and humanity.”
Hunt was facing up to a year in jail, but on Wednesday, a county superior court judge granted her misdemeanor diversion under the condition that several requirements are fulfilled in the next two years, according to NBC News.
Those requirements include writing an apology letter to Lauryn, her family and both basketball teams. Additionally, she must pay over $9,000 in restitution, stay away from Lauryn and complete anger management classes before she can watch games again.
“A grown adult directing a child to use violence against another child on the basketball court is reprehensible,” Spitzer said in a new statement. “By instructing her own daughter to engage in violence, she is not only responsible for injuring an innocent child as if she punched her with her own fist, but she transformed her own child into someone who is willing to hurt another child.”
The attacker’s father, identified as former NBA player Corey Benjamin, released an apology in the aftermath of the incident.
“To the young lady who was punched by my daughter during a youth basketball game, I sincerely apologize to you and I am praying for your complete healing both physically and emotionally,” Benjamin said, as per the Associated Press. “To her family, I deeply apologize and regret that this happened to your daughter as she did not deserve this to happen to her. Finally, I apologize to all of those who have been impacted and hurt by the actions of my daughter as well as those of her mother.”
Featured Image via Alice Ham