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Archive for Thursday, June 29, 2006

Father of beaten teen sees no progress in investigation

Charges have not yet been filed against suspect

June 29, 2006

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Footage of the brawl

Dale Vestal's video of his son, Coulter, being beaten at the Mid America Youth Basketball tournament in March in Newton. Enlarge video

One week after he released a home video of his son being pummeled during a youth basketball tournament, Dale Vestal says the incident is getting plenty of attention, but the investigation is still not getting enough.

Charges have not been filed against the teenager suspected of knocking his son, Coulter Vestal, unconscious, throwing his limp body on the floor and repeatedly beating him in the head and back during the Mid America Youth Basketball tournament in March in Newton.

Vestal released the video to media last week, hoping to put pressure on Newton's police department.

The video has garnered national attention from CNN, Geraldo Rivera and others.

"I think the young man needs some help, and I want to see that he gets that," Vestal said. "I have no idea what he's done prior to this and I have no idea what he's going to do after this. I just hope that whether it's anger management or whatever it might be, I hope he gets the help and has a chance to be a good, productive kid."

Comments

justsomewench 8 years, 6 months ago

This happened in March and the DA in Newton still can't decide whether to file charges or not? Uhm...

Michael Birch 8 years, 6 months ago

In a town like Newton, Ks., I doubt they have an overly

competent police department or district attorney's office!

DHD

miker 8 years, 6 months ago

It was called "clearing out" under the basket. He didn't throw the first punch. I've watched this kid play & he never plays unsportsmanlike. Pure thuggery on the other kid. There's a rep that has followed that team for some time. There's a scholarship waiting for him at Mizzou.

rayikeo 8 years, 6 months ago

The teen that pummeled Vestal should be charged with assult and removed from the basketball program. He should no longer be allowed to play in any sports program at any High School or University. His actions were criminal to say the least.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

I have watched many MAYB basketball games. Even the girls' games can get physical and the refs tend to look the other way because of the running clock. It often takes a kid getting hurt and knocked to the ground before the officials will start looking at the fouls.
Even if the other kid "threw an elbow", and I suspect there was lots of elbows when going for the rebound (clearing out), is still no excuse for what the other player did. I am not sure bringing charges will help the punch throwing player, but counseling might.

cms 8 years, 6 months ago

Jeez, dude Vestal, let it go. Both kids likely learned something from the experience, let it go.

missmagoo 8 years, 6 months ago

'blocking out' or not, that's part of the game...throwing a kid to the ground and punching him repeatedly, knocking him unconsious, breaking his braces, is battery, plain and simple. i hope this kid gets charged, even as a minor, and is not allowed to play MAYB anymore.

the ljw edited out the first elbow, the whole clip was shown on cnn.

staff04 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm pretty sure that the continued beating after the young man was unconscious makes it a greater crime than "simple battery." I'm no law scholar, but if there is one out there, will you straighten it out for hurlehey_boy?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 6 months ago

And we wonder why we can't keep our collegiate players under control. Special rules for jocks. No accountability.

jafs 8 years, 6 months ago

If we condone this sort of behavior, then we have only ourselves to blame for the violence in our society. Knocking someone unconscious and then beating them while they are down goes far beyond any "part of the game" physicality of sports.

CeeCee 8 years, 6 months ago

cms said: "Jeez, dude Vestal, let it go. Both kids likely learned something from the experience, let it go."

The kid from Newton learned that it's okay to beat someone unconscious on the court and there will be no consequences.

craigers 8 years, 6 months ago

The kid from Newton won't learn anything when his coach and dad say well he was provoked so the kid that got knocked out and then continually beat got what he deserved. That is a bunch of crap. I can see retaliating but after the kid went to the floor that should have been it. By not getting in trouble he will do it again to the next person that elbows him. It isn't right and if you can't handle hard playing without fighting then don't plan to go to the NBA or college and get away with it.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 6 months ago

as anyone who has played bball should know it was not a punch but a foul, yes it was everyone saw that except the ref. And as anyone know when you have been fouled you wait until the next best opp. to foul back and if you are good at you do not get called and do not cost your team points. At no point does a foul mean knocking someone out a beating the holy crap out of them. and the last time I looked it was more of a shove than elbow but it happened so quick that it easy to miss the elbow.

ljlook 8 years, 6 months ago

Posted by cms (anonymous) on June 29, 2006 at 8:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Jeez, dude Vestal, let it go. Both kids likely learned something from the experience, let it go.

Hey cms: How what if someone knocked you out, then pummeled your sorry a$$ ; I'm sure you wouldn't just "let it go".

conservative 8 years, 6 months ago

The kid should be charged. The fact that he hasn't either indicates that his parents have pull with the police, or the police are incompetent. Yeah, sports can be rough, and sometimes someone goes to the floor, but to then continue beating on them is criminal. Repeat criminal.

pundit 8 years, 6 months ago

.....You can tell that it is slow news days of summer.

The newspaper is dragging old news corpses around the block every few days to get the readers agitated.

From appearances here, this technique seems to work.

esubrett 8 years, 6 months ago

"There's a scholarship waiting for him at Mizzou." Quality line there miker. I applaud your humor.

When I first saw this video on CNN.com, it made me sick. I have seen a lot of sick things in my life and this is easily top three. It is one thing to throw the first punch, but the kid then repeatedly punches Coulter while he is obviously out cold. This kid needs to see the consequences of his actions or no lesson will be learned.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 8 years, 6 months ago

Can someone provide a link to where I can view this?

conservative 8 years, 6 months ago

I assume that if you click on the video link at the bottom of the article they show the video of the beating along with the 6 news report about the lack of followup. It was also available on CNN.com although it is probably gone from their site by now.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

It is on Kake.com and KWCH in Wichita.

The Wichita Eagle's article from 6/24 says the player was suspended from MAYB play, and the team was suspended from play for the remainder of the spring season. The coach suspended the player for two tournaments, but the player hasn't played since, because he is out of town.
The coach from the other team says his player was provoked because Colter threw the first elbow.
The coach obviously has played basketball before, and knows very well that is not an excuse.
If there are two refs on the floor, the trailing ref should have seen it as soon as Coulter was knocked to the floor, but it appears the refs only noticed when the coaches ran to the floor.
I hope the refs were spoken to. I don't know if the other player needs jail time, but probation and couseling.
The Wichita Eagle article is very interesting

Baille 8 years, 6 months ago

"His kid threw the first punch! At best he can hope for mutual simple battery charges."

That's not true. Even assuming you can make an argument for mutual combat or self-defense on the part if the Wichita kid, his battery became even more vicious after the Lawrence kid was unconcscious. Without intervention, the thug would have killed the Lawrence kid.

Once a person is incapacitated and/or one is no longer in danger of imminent bodily harm, any use of physical force must cease. The Wichita kid went way over the line.

esubrett 8 years, 6 months ago

Where was the first punch thrown by Coulter. All I saw was the two running down the court (probably jawing at each other) and Coulter push him at best, then came the assult.

staff04 8 years, 6 months ago

Uhhh...you can link to the Channel 6 story, which shows it repeatedly.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 6 months ago

thug enomics 101 kick em will they are down does not belong on the bball court.

Jamesaust 8 years, 6 months ago

I suppose he could be charged under KSA 34-3410 or 34-3414 for aggravated assault or aggravated battery but I don't see facts that would support the aggravated part. (Perhaps the DA is looking for some evidence to support this? That's probably too optimistic.)

More likely, KSA 34-3412 - plain old battery - would apply. I suppose the DA could also include an assault charge under 34-3408 but I'm not sure from the video whether the kid "saw it coming," which would be a requirement for assault ("apprehension ... of harm").

No doubt, the DA also has a policy consideration: is this kid going to be prosecuted because of the notoriety where any other kid wouldn't? DAs sometimes resent outside pressures to bring charges when restraints on resources normally do not allow this.

Its also not clear to me how the citizens of Kansas are served by not bringing charges here since almost certainly any sentence from a conviction would include some later probation time and mandatory counseling. It seems obvious that this kid has some problems.

Of course, nothing precludes Vestal from a civil lawsuit for damages but it is customary to let the criminal process proceed first if for no other reason than they have a bit more muscle to compel evidence, confessions, etc.

And, of course, a reduction in any recovery might be limited by evidence that the kid was provoked (almost certainly not completely offset - there's no excuse for these actions - but if you've got say $10k in medical bills, getting back only $5k - assuming you can actually collect - that's barely worth the effort once you subtract attorneys' fees).

But the presence of officials calling fouls and such would greatly (!) diminish the opportunity for this. In other words: this kid was fouled, which is part of the game; Vestal was beaten, which is not part of the game - there's all the difference in the world between these two.

esubrett 8 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if Time Square is seeing this story and the commercial running there and thinking, "A Kansas Vacation, where do I sign up"?

i_have_only_valid_opinions 8 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, that is disturbing. They need to make an example out of this kid. Totally uncalled for. In the pros they would suspend him and fine him. Since you can't hurt the kid financially, he should be kept from playing for at least half the next season. Charges should be filed.

I am going to call and voice my opinion to the Newton police department and ask why charges haven't been filed. I know they won't comment, but at least they'll know people are watching. Will you all please do the same?

I am also going to voice my concerns to MAYB and inquire as to what they are doing to deter this sort of behavior in other kids (i.e. permanently ban this kid from returning to the program). Please help me in voicing our concerns by calling MAYB at (316) 284-0354.

Baille 8 years, 6 months ago

"I am going to call and voice my opinion to the Newton police department and ask why charges haven't been filed."

Waste of time. Call the DA instead.

StirrrThePot 8 years, 6 months ago

Kids throw elbows and the game gets physical--I'll buy that, as I used to play high school basketball myself. It's just something that happens. Knocking the kid unconscious was uncalled for. Continuing tio beat him while he's unconscious is even worse and he should have been reprimanded for it. If it had been my kid doing the hitting, I would have removed him from the game myself. Once again, the message gets sent that if you're a jock you can get away with anything.

livinthedream 8 years, 6 months ago

I agree with StirrThePot.

It is truly a scary video. There is a lot of anger in that young man.

compmd 8 years, 6 months ago

I can't help but wonder if the thug would have just waited until after the game and beaten coulter outside, would we have criminal charges? what if he a weapon? and how about the beater's dad, didn't he approach mr. vestal and challenge him to a fight to "finish" it? if the threat of imminent bodily harm is considered assault, charge him too.

this is sick. the harvey co. da should be ashamed, and so should the voters in that county. the laws of the state of kansas and their promulgation by the people of this state cannot be nullified by a basketball court.

thisiknow 8 years, 6 months ago

Elbows are constantly thrown in a basketball game. There is no reason for a player to knock another down and willfully strike with force. This young man needs a reality check and needs some counseling. I watch my son play basketball and I see all the elbows and intentional tripping going on but, hitting a player once they are down is above the rim!!!!!No coach ,that I know, would even suggest this is acceptable.

bunnyhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Where do you suppose these boys learned that the outcome of this one 8th grade game was important enough to come to blows over it?????????

my2girls 8 years, 6 months ago

This kid is from Wichita not Newton. What do you expect for Wichita. That city is awful! The violence is terrible there.

Sharon Nottingham 8 years, 6 months ago

As a mother, I am sickened to see a kid get beaten up like the video shows. Would charges be filed if this happened at a basketball court in a neighborhood park? I am happy the father sent the footage to the media. I would be pestering the DA on a daily basis until I got results. This was totally inappropriate behavior and not at all sportsman-like. The kid obviously needs counseling and should not be allowed to play sports.

Sharon Nottingham 8 years, 6 months ago

By the way, the Harvey County D.A.'s email is: mtreaster@harveycounty.com. (Matthew Treaster).

a_new_voice 8 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone wonder why the Dad sat calmly in the stands and continued to videotape his son being beaten?

conservative 8 years, 6 months ago

New voice. I'm pretty sure he got the tape from someone else who was taping.

Dreamer43 8 years, 6 months ago

Wow are you guys really this dumb. First of all how horrible is it to act like every child from Wichita is a criminal. Yes this Kid majorly screwed up but i didnt see his team mates start beating on him too? They arn't violent criminals. Second if you knew anything about it or actually watched the news you would know that his dad is his coach, and one of the men that rush out to pry the kid off.

Dreamer43 8 years, 6 months ago

They were Contacted immediately. Thats what all of this is about they didn't take action.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 6 months ago

I actually just watched this video for the first time. I had read a article about it a few days ago. I do also wonder just wasn't shown on the footage that was edited and from the looks of the kid runniing to "elbow" or whatever it looked pretty intentional since the one struck wasn't in the play to begin with. I do not agree that this kid should have reacted so violently to a so called "normal" procedure during games. The kid needs some serious rage control and a hefty charge. I have to agree with the statements that there is a lot to this story that seems to be missing ( and also the tape of it) I am not so sure that if this has been on going for four months that the full story has been told or else this kid would have had charges filed already or some other form of action taken. Reality is is that just because it is made to inflame strong emotions that it is the absolute truth or picture.

conservative 8 years, 6 months ago

Sweetpeagj,

p>CNN.com used to have a 3.5 minute version of the tape on their website. I watched it. Yes there was some bumping and pushing going on before the fight. But frankly as I watched the first 2 minutes of the tape I was beginning to wonder what the big deal was. Where was this terrible fight? Then it comes to the part that is all that we have on LJWorld now. I've been to hundreds of basketball games and what was going on before the beating didn't look any worse to me than what happens in many "physical" Bball games.

Bottom line. If this kid had simply gotten over zealous and punched him once, I'd say there should be punishments inside the game and leave the police out. But with the way he knocked him out, and then continued to beat him on the ground. That's criminal.

Someone put it perfectly earlier. Just because you step onto a basketball court doesn't mean you give up your protections under the law.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 6 months ago

a_new_voice cried out in the wilderness: "Does anyone wonder why the Dad sat calmly in the stands and continued to videotape his son being beaten?"

The videotape was made by a third party. The father was one of the coaches from the Lawrence team.

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