A California woman accused of encouraging her daughter to hit an opposing player during a youth basketball tournament last month has been charged with misdemeanors this week.
Driving the news: The incident was caught on a video that has since gone viral on social media. The victim, Lauryn Ham, a 15-year-old Asian American girl, received treatment for a bruised neck and concussion.
- The incident occurred during a game between the SoCal Blaze and Dream Academy teams at the MAP Sports Facility in Garden Grove on Nov. 7. Lauryn, who plays for the former, was attacked in the last four minutes.
- Prior to the incident, the attacker — who is also a minor — fell backwards onto Lauryn after shooting a three-pointer. When both got up and walked to the other side of the court, the attacker’s mother allegedly yelled, “You better hit her for that.”
- As seen in the video, Lauryn’s attacker swung at her, causing her to fall down. The game was reportedly stopped and the attacker and her mother were sent home.
- Lauryn’s mother, Alice, told NextShark that her daughter suffered from shock and was taken to an urgent care facility for treatment. Alice first shared the video of the incident on Instagram.
- “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,” Alice told NextShark.
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The charges: The attacker’s mother, Latira Shonty Hunt, 44, was charged with battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the Associated Press reported. She faces up to a year in jail if found guilty.
- “It is unconscionable that a parent would encourage her child to engage in violence during a sporting event,” a press release quoted Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer as saying. “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.”
- Kevin Hahn, the victim’s lawyer, said the family is pleased to see the district attorney file charges. He stressed that the attacker “clearly acted at the direction of her mother,” NBC Los Angeles noted.
- “We believe that this is the correct decision and the first step towards ensuring that there is accountability,” KTLA quoted the Ham family’s statement. “There is no place in sports for a parent to incite violence against another child. We are hopeful that this will serve to discourage this type of behavior in the future.”
- The attacker’s father, former NBA player Corey Benjamin, released a statement apologizing for his daughter’s actions 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 ABC News. “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