A Lawrence man has stirred up a national media storm after releasing a home video of his eighth-grade son being pummeled by another basketball player during the Mid America Youth Basketball tournament in March in Newton.
Dale Vestal said he released the home video in an effort to prompt law enforcement in Newton to file charges against the youth who attacked his son, Coulter Vestal.
Since the video's release on Wednesday, the Vestal family has been contacted by several national organizations, including CBS, CNN, Fox News and Court TV.
"I had no idea when this tape was released that it would have this kind of impact. Just the number of national stations that have been in touch with me. It has gone so far that the Geraldo show is taping at our house on Sunday," Vestal said.
"My goal was to keep this thing under wraps and not let it out," he said. "I didn't want my son to go through this again. He's already taken a beating of a lifetime. He didn't need to do it again."
Vestal said that he called Newton's police department two or three times a day in the month after the incident. He said that the fact that there were still no charges filed finally spurred his decision to release the video.
The video shows Coulter, who plays for the Lawrence Jayhawks, and an unidentified player for the Wichita Showtime exchanging elbows as they run down the floor during a game on March 26 in Newton.
Then the Wichita player grabs Vestal around the neck and throws him on the court, pummeling the motionless teen before coaches from both teams can intervene.
"It was a disgusting thing to watch. As a coach, any kid that would've happened to, it turns your stomach. It adds more to it when it's your own son," Vestal said.
Since the video's release, Newton police have begun the process of filing charges against Coulter's attacker, Vestal said.
"Which is pretty much a complete turnaround from what the county attorneys have been telling us over the last two weeks," Vestal said.
Harvey County Dist. Atty. David Yoder said in a written statement Friday that his office "just received the reports on this case this month and has them for review for possible prosecution. As this pertains to a juvenile matter, our office is unable to make (further) comment."
Kris Maples, who coaches Wichita Showtime, told The Wichita Eagle on Friday that he and his player have been interviewed by Harvey County Sheriff's detectives. He declined to identify the player but said he thought Coulter Vestal provoked the fight.
"It wasn't a vicious attack or a malicious attack. It was retaliation," Maples said. "No doubt it escalated more than it should. Did my player overreact? Obviously. But their player elbowed mine in the face twice. That's what provoked it."
Vestal said that regardless of what happened during the basketball game, the Wichita Showtime player had no reason to continue beating Coulter even after he was unconscious.
During the incident, Coulter's braces were broken and he began bleeding through his nose and mouth.
Since then, Coulter has made a full recovery. Until about two weeks ago, Vestal said, Coulter had trouble seeing out of his left eye. Now, the blurriness is gone, and the teen was well enough to compete in a baseball tournament Friday.
Vestal said he's glad he released the tape. He adds that the media storm only justifies his three-month fight against an attack that "was as bad as I thought it was."
"When you watch the tape, as vicious as the throw to the ground was at the beginning, if it would've stopped there, if he would've thrown my son to the ground and walked away, we wouldn't even be talking about this," Vestal said.