Archive for Saturday, June 24, 2006

Video of teen being beaten draws national media attention

June 24, 2006


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.


Father calling for action from basketball brawl. Enlarge video

"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.


xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

Just speculation, but maybe the thug is one of those who think all white kids are punks to be dominated and disrespected at will.

Rest assured, there will always be those who suborn, who seek to legitimize such behavoir. The thug is a thug, period.

Mike Birch 11 years, 11 months ago

There is no reason for something like this to happen. It

is sad that it takes a publicly released video for the

police to file assault and battey charges against an

attacker. This doesn't say much about the so-called

Newton police does it!


LivedinLawrence4Life 11 years, 11 months ago

The kid should definitely get an assault and battery conviction. One bump is incendental, but that kid went crazy. Put him in jail for a while to make him realize that will not be tolerated in game or anywhere else.

Sigmund 11 years, 11 months ago

Did I mention Geraldo is coming to town! BTW, could someone mention to DownHomeDude that there is no need to hit the after each line. The line wrap works perfect on this site!

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, I don't think jail is going to teach him not to be violent...

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

Being called a name (not that there's any verification that it even happened in this incident) is never justification for beating someone up. I've been called many things during my lifetime, and I've never once beat someone up for it. Does being called a name bother people? Sure. Does it give people the right to beat up the person who called them a name? No.

What would your excuse for the perpetrator be, Geek, if they were both white boys? Or both black boys?

The boy was unconscious on the floor, and the other kid continued to hit him. Looks to me like he has a major problem with anger management.

The NBA won't tolerate stuff like this, and neither should high schools or the police. I don't care if he's a juvenile. Letting juveniles get away with this kind of thing is why we have all kinds of adults who continue to beat people up every time they get angry.

The police should have filed charges against this boy long before the father released the tape to the media. This incident happened in March, if I recall correctly. Three months to investigate an incident that was on tape? Please...

I don't expect jail time for him, though. Since he is a juvenile, he'll probably get by with just a slap on the wrist. That's how our justice system usually works.

However, if he continues to conduct himself like this throughout his life, he will guarantee that he will spend some time in jail when he gets to be an adult.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 11 months ago

Jesus people! Two teens get in a fight......CALL THE FREAKIN MARINES!!! back in the day the coaches would of put such a work load on both the kids that the would either knuckle down and get with the program or quit....not to mention the ass whoopin both parents should lay on their kids for being unsportsman like douches.

Sigmund 11 years, 11 months ago

What is wrong with you people? Don't you see the what is real important here? Geraldo is coming to town! Oh BTW, Newton PD and prosecutors are feeling the heat for their apathy and laziness. Expect action shortly, then look for the Wichita Showtime's "cage match smack down" on pay-for-view later this summer.

Staci Dark Simpson 11 years, 11 months ago

Kids need to learn that contact sports mean you might make contact. They need to learn you might get elbowed, tripped, kneed, and knocked down. You just don't turn around and beat someone's a$$ when it happens. If you can't handle being pushed around maybe you should play golf or tennis. Because you get elbowed doesn't give you the right to beat someone unconscious. Geez whats wrong with kids?

Fatty_McButterpants 11 years, 11 months ago

"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."

...and then he released his tape to a zillion news organizations.

Fatty_McButterpants 11 years, 11 months ago

I also found it interesting that it only took "geekin_topekan" until the second posting to try and pull out the race card.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm curious why this is the first time it's come up in the news here.

And no matter what occured before the beating, nothing the kid could have said or done (clever editing included!) was worth the beating he got.

If it were up to me, the other team would be minus a player and minus some money (in the way of a fine) and the league should put the whole team on probation. A coach with a loose cannon of a player like that should probably be watched to see what the heck he's coaching.

oldgranny 11 years, 11 months ago

I have sat at more than my fair share of ball games over the years. When you have sons and grandsons you do a lot of that. I have seen more than my fair share of fights too. Its unbecoming and unsportsman like for sure but it happens. Its a school matter and a parent matter. I cannot believe it made the national news. They must be hard up for a story this week.

hottruckinmama 11 years, 11 months ago

shame on this dad for releasing this to the news. it would be embrassing enough for the kid to get his b#tt kicked but then to have your dad whine about it and post it all over the news? thats the dumbest thing i've ever heard of.

fletch 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow, if Geraldo is coming to town maybe he can open some of those tunnels under old downtown buildings and see if Hoffa stored any mroe barrells in there.

Jamesaust 11 years, 11 months ago

1) there's no video editing. The full event including the initial foul is displayed. Keep your eye on the other players and note that there is continous fluid motion.

2) Its a straightforward assault far outside of any "assumed risk" athletes take on by participation.

3) There needs to be not only a prosecution but a "no deal" jail sentence followed by a long period of mandated counseling and probation. Oh yeah, and no more participation in athletics. This troubled kid needs to focus on life-skills not athletic-skils.

bearded_gnome 11 years, 11 months ago

okay, Geraldo is coming to town...suppose we should introduce him to Marion?

sounds, from above post, that son learned violence from dad and this event was long in coming, just Coulter happened to be the victim who got in the way. Thug dad offered to finish the fight off the court with Coulter's dad.

so, in Geraldo's coverage, ya' think he'll talk about lawrence, our cell phones, balloons, roundabouts, or the big north lawrence bump?

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

It offends me deeply to agree with Pilgrim, but he's right: the punk needs to be punished, now, hard, so he won't make the same kind of mistake down the road.

Kansas prisons are full of angry black thugs who need no, or little, encouragement to assault whites. If this kid wants to be one of them, he should be given an opportunity to see it, up close and personal, while he's still young enough to choose a different path.

owenowen415 11 years, 11 months ago

You know if it was a black kid assaulted, Jesse Jackson would have been in town extorting money for "teaching tolerence".

Regarding the "but,maybe the kid through the "N" word around one too many times.

What a loser. BTW, it's "threw", as in threw a baseball, not walked "through" the door. I love it, black kid hits a white kid, he must of used the N word. Nothing like a in the closet bigot. Nice double standard you loser.

Mike Blur 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Kelly Powell again! In the late 70s, I used to get assaulted several times a year because of the color of my skin, up until the point where I started carrying weapons to LHS and for some reason, everyone backed off. (Crown Prince Educator O. Criqui to me, circa 1978: "Tonto is a good role model for American Indians, so if someone calls you Tonto, take it as a compliment.")

It is a desperate situation for many kids, and I'm glad that technology exists these days to capture incidents like this for the public to peruse. I'm independently employed, but I'm thinking about riding the school buses this fall to help stem the violence and aggression that happens on those buses.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

I know that if this had happened here my kids would have been hauled off court in handcuffs. Oh what a tangled web. The dad can not win, show it and he is inviting all sorts of attention do not show it and it apears the newton cops are doing nothing. I hope dad remembers this kid has to go back to school and get teased by everyone for having daddy fight his battles. It is just ashame the dad felt he had to do this to get any kind of justice.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 11 months ago

Undoubtably this deserves punishment. But it is not like these kids go to school together and it is an ongoing situation. Chances are they will never lay eyes on each other again. I think drawing all this media attention to it is overkill in a major way.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

" hope dad remembers this kid has to go back to school and get teased by everyone for having daddy fight his battles. It is just ashame the dad felt he had to do this to get any kind of justice."

The Dad was the coach. He has an obligation to see this matter through, whether it was his kid or someone else's.

I saw Dale and Coulter on Fox Thursday night. I was very impressed with how dignified both father and son were. They did not say negative things about the other player; just that what he did was wrong, that he should have consequences for what he did, and that they were extremely frustrated with the Newton police.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

I understand yes the dad felt like nothing was being done and most parents would most likley do the same, but the kid will be teased, kids are ruthless, and a jock on top of it. poor kid is all i am saying all the way around. The dad is being very restrained, me I would have probably went down and chocked the newton police chief by now but that is me mom with her cub you know no rationality. And I did say it was to bad the dad had to do this, cops are really to blame for this going national.

Scott Drummond 11 years, 11 months ago

"Just speculation but,maybe the kid through the "N" word around one too many times and came up on the losing end."

Rank speculation, and there is no point even bothering to explain how pathetic it is that this is the immediate and first reaction of the poster. At the end of the day, the so-called "N" word is just a word, however. Not a pleasant one, I suppose, and not one that perhaps should even be used lightly. But just a word. The sooner certain people quit going in to apoplectic shock every time it is uttered by a white person the better. I cannot know whether the young man uttered that deragatory word on the way down the court. In light of the Wichita thug's actions, one things for sure, though. If he did, a more accurate description could not have been uttered. Sometimes you just have to call something what it is.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

yeah I think this went far beyond the "n" word being said need an atitude ajustment.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

Actually, momma, considering all the media attention, when the kid goes back to school this fall, he'll probably be an instant celebrity, because he was on TV, something none of his classmates managed to do. (as far as we know, anyway.) I think he'll be really popular now, for awhile anyway. Everyone will be asking him about his trip to N.Y., and what he saw, and what it was like, and who he talked to.

Hearing Lawrence mentioned on a national news program made you watch, didn't it?

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

Frankly, I thought I was having a delusion when I saw Dale Vestal being interviewd by Greta. She was waiting for the histrionics, the name calling, even kind of paused and waited for it, and there was nothing of that...

pelliott 11 years, 11 months ago

Kris Maples, who coaches Wichita Showtime, told ...k. 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."

If a kid is coached that retaliation is the solution, then the coach should be charged too. I am sick of the sick culture of youth sports. I see parents and coaches out of control over what should be exercise and fun, not ego of the adults involved. Responsible behavoir isn't leading theway on that team, or many others.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

no I did not watch until all the post on ljw happened sorry. Then just went to cnn to see why all the hubbub.

GardenMomma 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree pelliott. I thought it was a shame that things have gotten so bad in youth sports that I had to sign a parent sportsmanship policy when I started my daughter in T-ball. She was six at the time.

I wonder if some of the bad manners in youth sports today stems from the thought of "easy money" when one's child "makes it in the big time." Professional athletes get paid outrageous salaries (and look how some of them behave!)

SFla 11 years, 11 months ago

This video is disgusting.

This should be prosecuted as a hate crime. If it was a white kid taking in game contact and advancing it into a malicious attack against a black kid there wouldn't even have to be a discussion on this. This kid is clearly a thug and should be treated as such.

learn 11 years, 11 months ago

My two cents: The guy who punched is wrong, the dad who released the tape to the whole world is also wrong. The guy who started the fight and got someone knocked down hard should go to jail, while the dad who sent this to CNN etc should be fined for causing so much stir in this country.

common_cents 11 years, 11 months ago

All I can say is wow. And charges are just NOW being filed.

Not for one minute will I except the race card as a justification for this kind of action. I've had racial slurs thrown at me most of my life and I've never once attacked anyone. I do what I've been taught and that's to understand that there are very, very stupid people out there.

This is merely a case of a kid who was raised incorrectly and taught that violence is the answer to anything that irks you.

Lock him up.

PYT1984 11 years, 11 months ago

My goodness. Please stop saying he will get teased because he got his butt kicked. He got it kicked because he was unconscious. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's a little hard to defend yourself when you are lying on the floor, face down, I might add, unconscious. Don't say they won't run into each other again either. Obviously you aren't involved in club ball. You can see the same teams over and over again, so it's very likely that they could end up playing each other again. You haven't seen the tape before this because he was trying to handle it through the police department. They have had no answers from them and so he did what he thought would help. Problem solvers. He's fighting his son's battle because that is what he supposed to do in a situation like this. He is the parent of a 14 year old child. Like Dale said, if the kid would have pushed him to the ground and walked away, they wouldn't be here right now, but he didn't. He brutally punched him several times while he lay unconscious. That's where the problem begins. Also, has anyone else noticed the ref in this video? He just stands there and watches. I would have a problem with that also.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

no not teased for getting his butt kicked but cuz dad made the news and fought his battle you know the whole male teen meantality. You know kids can be cruel, that much is seen on the tape. I just hope this is resolved fast and in the intrest of both parties mosly the victim

Logic 11 years, 11 months ago

For all of those on this page that make remarks without being there are clearly displaying your ignorance. You sit here and try to clearly assess a situation without knowing what the (real) story is. Of course the boy beating the other kid was out of line but know one knows what went on there between the two but those two. It may have been justified to retaliate on the kid but not like that. There may have been words and rough interaction going on between them that the refs failed to handle the right way. Who knows, or maybe the boy was out of control. But your obsession with the word thug puts a generalized conscious on your thoughts as well as your intelligence. (not a complement at all) Lets leave it, as is, a situation that got very much so out of hand, which, after a thorough and fair investigation, justifiable punishment will be handed out to the party or parties that deserve it.

The question is... What let it get to that point?

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

My spouse says, "basketball, football, it is a sport, it is something you enjoy, like bicycle riding, dancing, whatever you enjoy; the only time it becomes a major deal is in college when it is a scholarship and you have to make your grades and it is a financial benefit to you. Any time before that, yes, you know you are going to get hurt, but you do it because you enjoy the game. You don't expect to get a cheap shot, and the coaches and the referees that control it, they are in charge, and if somebody knocks you out in a fair play, you expect it, but if you get hammered by a cheap shot, then the referees and coaches should stop the situation, they shouldn't let somebody beat on another player.

Dale, I am with you. I think you tried to do it correctly by talking to the other coach, the school, and the county attorney; you have medical bills you have to pay as the result of this; and your son was hurt and it was deliberate on the part of the other player. Now the rest of these people are trying to wash their hands of the situation. You had no choice but to support your son and anybody that wants to complain about it, we'll see what they do when it happens to their kids and how they support them.

justice 11 years, 11 months ago

when monkeys go ape and attack humans, they get shot - dead. the monkey that attacked coulter vestal deserves nothing less. one 35-cent round to the head will solve everything.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.