Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Tuesday that a fighting game between two Mater Dei football players, in which one suffered a brain injury and a broken nose, does not meet the legal standards of criminal “hedging” or a felony, But he is ready to consider additional evidence. ,
The news of the ongoing battle over the achievements of the champion football team, its coaches and academic officials for the past one week is going viral. Many have questioned why Spitzer did not file criminal charges in the case – either against the boy who won the fight or against the school’s leaders.
Spitzer explained in a statement to the Southern California newsgroup why he viewed the dispute in the Mater dei locker room as a “fight amongst themselves” despite the Santa Ana police report describing the injured player as “defenseless.” The police recommended felony charges against the winner.
“This incident has been thoroughly investigated by law enforcement and scrutinized by the most experienced prosecutors in my office to see if we can prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” Spitzer said. “we can not do.”
Spitzer continued that no player took part in the game against his will, which appears to be a tradition on the Mater Dei football team called “bodies”.
“The participants knew they were being filmed and started punching. Some punches landed; The others didn’t, but it’s fairly clear that both participants tended to punch more and more,” Spitzer said. “There isn’t a single piece of evidence to show that it was mutual with two willing participants.” The fighting was anything but a state of affairs, who repeatedly punched each other in the head. This does not make it acceptable. But it’s not a crime.”
no one tried to stop the fight
He said that no one, not even the participants, tried to stop the fight until the damage was done.
“In a fight, one of the players never told the other player to stop, even though the punches became head shots and attempted head shots. When another (observer) said to stop, both players Stop throwing punches,” Spitzer said.
The Southern California newsgroup is not naming the two participants because they are teenagers, but is describing the injured player as Player 1 and the other as Player 2. Player 1 weighed about 50 pounds less than Player 2.
The rules of the “bodies” game are few – players punch each other’s torso until someone gives up. Punches of any kind are not permitted under the belt or in the face. However, during the game in question, the two players began slamming into each other’s faces, according to two videos of the brawl obtained by Southern California News Group and a lawsuit by the injured player.
In the middle of the fight, Player 2 hits a punch and then another in the face of Player 1.
The Santa Ana Police Report by Detective states that Player 2 may “strike (Player 1) the right side of the face (Player 1) with his left hand.” David Angel.
“After that, it felt like (player 1) was stunned in the game/fight for the first time. Up to this point, (player 1) was leading and (player 2) was punching for the punch after each exchange. This time after being hit, (player 1) stood in front of (player 2) without holding his right hand over his eyes. This was a clear sign that he was done with the fight and could not continue the game.
“My opinion is that at this time (Player 1) was not in the fight due to injury from the punch. I believe the fact that (player 1) stopped punching and moving towards (player 2) and instead stood still and put his hand to his face, a reasonable person would recognize that (player 1) ) was injured and defenseless at the time,” Engel wrote.
“At this point (player 2) threw a final punch which was outside the scope of the game. The last strike was a punch to a defenseless opponent as he was hurt and stunned by the previous punch, causing serious physical damage to (Player 1’s) face,” Angell wrote. “Based on the video evidence, it is clear that both the boys involved were willing participants in the ‘bodies’ game.”
He said: “Based on documented injuries, which include a broken nose and bruises above both eyes, I will send this report to the district attorney’s office to file felony charges against (Player 2). I’ve been.”
Endangering the ‘unacceptable’ in any way
Concluding that there was not enough evidence to file charges, Spitzer urged anyone with more information to contact his office.
“As elected District Attorney of Orange County, I have and will continue to protect our children from harm. The safety of our children is the responsibility of all of us,” he said. “At this point, hedging or any other crime There is no evidence that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“I have and stand ready to review any and all information relating to this incident and any incident involving potential haze at our schools. Hedging in any form is unacceptable and if I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt I am sure that anyone – be it a player, coach or school administration – has indulged in hedging or has condoned it, I will hold them accountable.
Spitzer also said that school athletics should strive for better conduct.
Spitzer said, “No one should be proud of what happened in the Mater Dei locker room on February 4, 2021, and that falls short of the kind of character any of us would want for our children. ” “Schools need to be safe places for our children to grow and learn – and to develop the character we want to see in all of our children. Watching two kids juggle business in a locker room environment is for everyone Must be disturbing for me. It was for me.”
Player 1’s attorney, Brian L. Williams, said his lawsuit was intended to protect other student athletes.
“It is not my role to prosecute minors for crimes, that role belongs to the district attorney,” Williams said. “But I know what happened in the locker room was wrong. I also know that what happened in the locker room is the result of many institutional failures.