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Posted on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

Football brawl attorney on student's plea deal: 'It's a very good offer'

By John Counts


Bashir Garain

Courtesy of WSCO

The Pioneer student accused of swinging a crutch during last fall's high school football brawl was offered a deal that was too good to pass up, his attorney Walter White said Monday afternoon.

Bashir Garain pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon in the Washtenaw County Trial Court Friday. A second count of assault with a dangerous weapon and two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery will be dismissed.

What's more, Garain has the opportunity to someday have a clean record. He received a deferred sentencing, which means if he fulfills all his obligations while on probation, the case will be expunged.

White said Judge Donald Shelton hasn't yet decided how long Garain will be on probation for. That decision is expected to come when Garain is sentenced in early May, White said.

The deal was struck just days before a jury trial was scheduled to begin on Monday. White said he and Garain went before Shelton for an unscheduled hearing Friday so those scheduled to testify weren't forced to show up Monday morning.

The deal was too good to pass up, White added.

“It’s a very good offer,” he said. “(Garain's) going to college. Hopefully by the time he goes to college, he won’t have anything on his record. This will be the end of it.”

Garain is one of three students charged in the football melee, which started when coaches from Huron High School and Pioneer met after the game Oct. 12 and began a verbal altercation that turned physical when assistant coach Vince Wortmann shoved Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve.

Wortmann was not charged because prosecutors ruled he believed he was defending Pioneer head coach Paul Test. Wortmann was fired after the incident. Both head coaches have since resigned.

Garain and two 17-year-old boys were criminally charged. One 17-year-old student was found responsible in juvenile court on one count of misdemeanor assault and battery on Feb. 6. He is awaiting disposition, the equivalent of a sentencing, which is scheduled for April 30.

The second 17-year-old rejected a plea offer Monday that would have included a similar type of deferred sentencing and would have wiped his record clean if he complied with probation. His jury trial is set for June 24.

The cases have resulted in a fair amount of controversy. The Ann Arbor Concerned Citizens for Justice have protested at recent hearings, claiming the charges were racially motivated. All three students charged are black.

The Ann Arbor Board of Education also got into the fray, passing a resolution last month asking the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office to "re-evaluate the degree of criminalization" of the three students' actions during the brawl.

White also doesn't think prosecutors were right to charge the three.

“I really think it would have been better if no one had been charged out of the incident,” he said. “It was either a lot of people were guilty or no one was guilty."

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Jay Thomas

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

I'm curious to see what will happen to the one who stomped on someone's face while wearing cleats. But of course he should go free because a coach pushed the other coach. Pushing is as violent as it gets!


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

@trespass Thanks I was able to see what happened.And it hat not changed. Unless you think it has been doctored! I am waiting too see if you can admit you were wrong.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Mr. White was right about one thing. No one should have been charged or a lot of people should have been charged, starting with Coach Gildersleeve. Facts are a little short in these articles. It remains that this matter should have been left for the school district to handle.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

concerned BTW How can you say there is no victim? I think the victim and his family would beg to differ!


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

concerned Where do you draw the line? What if he had used a baseball bat? Still let the school decide?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

jcj, This is still a charge with no victim. I am a little curious why an adult in this brawl was allowed the assumption of protecting his colleague,but this student was not allowed that same assumption of possibly trying to help protect others on his team. Do I think it was OK to swing that crutch, no. Criminal charges are way over the top. This student was given consequences for his actions by AAPS. It should have remained there.

Basic Bob

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

Because yelling, shoving, grabbing arms, or storming the field is the same as beating someone with a crutch or kicking someone in the face? Different behavior should be handled differently.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

concerned Only one problem. There is a video that clearly shows the swinging of a crutch.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

I totally agree with your point. Sadly in this comment section all it takes for guilt is to be arrested and written about in the


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Facts are a little short in these articles. No shortage of facts in fact there are too many false versions of the "facts".


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

@trespass - thanks for posting the video. I'm no judge or jury, but if you look at roughly 0:53 of the video (bottom right) you'll see someone that looks awfully similar (99% sure of it, just wait until the end) swing the heck out of that crutch right on to somebody. Everyone else is carrying them as you say from what I can see, but this guy was NOT. He clearly had no use for the crutch because he was walking just fine. He swings it and a referee (who clearly saw him swing it) grabs him and pulls him to the side. He is the ONLY one getting that treatment in the video. Again, just look at the video, clearly on there. I'm not sure why he was charged with four counts because you would think each swing would be a charge and he only swung once from what I can tell.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

@John- how about posting a link to the YouTube video so the commenters can see what happened?

harry b

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Good post. I never saw the fight. Did anyone notice he had his face covered as he was swinging the crutch. Go beyond the act. He is a criminal. He knew what he was doing as evident by him concealing his identity. He need to be thrown out of school.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3 p.m.

trespass Please look at the video again and tell us with a straight face no one took a swing with a crutch.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:15 a.m.

i about another decade football won't be around because it's just too violent for fragile eggshell minds to contemplate hurt could every exist in sport... then, we'll be watching exercise balls rolling around on the gridirons... the halftime show will be yoga mats... that's all the exercise the namby pamby world can handle... American is becoming wussified by lack of reality of what the real world is about... but, that's okay, they can take their aggression to the streets of Washtenaw... and i say to myself, myself what a wonderful world... you suckers can have this planet... i'm outta here when that happens! good luck w/ dat!


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

sloppy While I agree there have always been injuries in sports and they are trying to remove to much of the hitting in contact sports. But I have not been able to locate the bylaws for a brawl after the sporting event concerning swinging anything!


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

What are you people talking about? Not enough people getting concussions?

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

How many years until they're playing flag football in high school. Or maybe they'll just go with cup-stacking.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:40 a.m.

The way the rules have changed-like for pro football, I say its already dead. Used to be the toughest people were the best players, not anymore. Yeah, yeah, players were get seriously harmed but many were playing too long, 40 years old and still out there with the 25 year olds. That is the problem, IMO


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:02 a.m.

Once a violent person, always a violent person.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:30 a.m.

I'm dissapointed with the Ann Arbor school district that tried to apply pressure and intervene in the judicial process. If a student swung a crutch at someone during class time would any school "just forget about it"? I think this was a fair deal. I also think charges should be brought against the adults involved.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

Charges for... pushing?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Done Deal. My comment: A crippled teenboy "may" have swung an Aluminum crutch at a teenboy football player who was fully-padded and helmeted. What goes? Pros Aty Mackie wanted to hang a Felony Record on the lad? Shame on you Brian Mackey.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

Watch the video - 0:53.... May? He clearly swung it.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

If a felony record had been "hung on him," it would have been only himself who did that, for choosing to commit the act, not anybody else. And the law says nothing about whether the victim is "fully padded and helmeted" or not. That doesn't change anything. If he didn't want legal trouble, he should not have attacked another person. I don't see how that is so hard to understand. So many of the rest of us go through daily life without attacking other people. Why is it so hard for this kid to do it?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:56 a.m.

This is the sound of a wrist being slapped. It sounds nothing like a crutch being swung.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:21 a.m.

It truly seems like the best possible outcome. Hold him accountable but give him a chance to show that he has grown, matured, and can maintain a crime free life - and then an expunged record. This way he has a chance and yet should he make another mistep, the consequences then become two fold. Well done Brian Mackie.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

Plead guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and get ZERO days in jail. Isn't that a wonderful lesson to be teaching the children.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:35 a.m.

Yeah, the USA has a real weapon problem, that is just how it is. U can't hide it from the children, even them have been victims.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

All three of the young men would have had this kind of sentencing if the "adults" i.e. the School Board and AACc for J, would have kept out of it. It could have been over with months ago.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

good for him. now he just has to walk a straight line and it will go away. good luck!

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

"Probation isn't a peace of cake like some make it out out be." How is that? Living an adult life without committing criminal acts isn't that hard. Billions of people do it every day. How is it any different if you're on probation?

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

Probation is not a reward Paul.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:33 a.m.

And its not always that easy to do. Probation isn't a peace of cake like some make it out out be.

John of Saline

Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

Smart. Smarter than going to trial.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Especially since he clearly swung it!


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

It is a form of blackmail by the County Prosecutor's Office. So what's new. They grossly overcharge the crime just so they can have bargaining room to get a plea deal. How about just charging the appropriate misdemeanor and letting a jury decide.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

trespass Amazing how YOU can tell the laceration on the face is from a punch. Sherlock Holmes had nothing on


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

@average joe- If you look at the video on YouTube, you will never see anyone swing a crutch. There are some crutches being pulled away from people and being passed around the crowd but never is one swung. That was just an allegation by the police or prosecutor but since this didn't go to trial, a jury will never look at the video. Also, if you look at the laceration on the cheek of the person who was hurt, it is obviously from a punch not a crutch.

average joe

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

IMO, swinging a crutch and hitting someone is not a misdemeanor. People could have been seriously injured, or worse.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:31 a.m.

trespass, you are 100% right. Its always overcharge and plea the case vs going to trail. The defense has little choice but to accept the plea deal. Welcome to the justice system.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:12 a.m.

Redundant indictments for multiple offenses flowing from a single act and threats of lengthy sentences or felony records enable prosecutors to extort pleas from defendants. Of course judging from all your thumbs down, no one else here will care about that until they are the ones being targeted. I think the number of charges was ridiculous I'm not even one of the people who believes this case was at all racially motivated.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 10:44 p.m.

He got lucky.....