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Posted on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Online petition: Prosecutor wrong in charging only African-American teens in football brawl

By Pete Cunningham


Three former Pioneer High School football players have been charged with felonious assault with a dangerous weapon. One of the teens, Bashir Garain, 18, is being charged as an adult for allegedly swinging a crutch at someone.

Daniel Brenner |

Petitions are circulating online encouraging Washtenaw County's prosecutor to drop all charges against three Pioneer High School students involved in the brawl that took place following the Huron vs. Pioneer football game on Oct. 12 because the only people charged following the melee are African-American teens.

Three separate petitions were posted on early Sunday in support of the former Pioneer players, one of whom, Bashir Garain, is being charged as an adult. It is's policy not to name individuals being charged as juveniles, so they will be referred to as Teenager #1 and Teenager #2.

Garain, 18, has been charged with two felonies for his involvement in the brawl, including assault with a dangerous weapon. Video from the Oct. 12 brawl shows Garain - who did not play in the game due to a knee injury - swinging his crutch during the fight.

Garain’s attorney, Walter White, has previously told his client maintains his innocence. He’s pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and two misdemeanor charges of assault and battery. He waived a preliminary exam on Dec. 6.

Teenager #1's attorney, Brooke Lauren Williams, confirmed that her client has been charged as a minor with two felonies: assault with intent to do bodily harm less than murder, and assault with a dangerous weapon. He's also been charged with aggravated assault and assault and battery, both misdemeanors.

Washtenaw County juvenile court administrator Linda Edwards-Brown confirmed Teenager #2 has been charged with assault with intent to do bodily harm less than murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of aggravated assault.

Teenager #1 and Teenager #2, both 17, were 16 the night the brawl took place and are therefore treated by the court as minors. Were they 17 the night of the alleged offenses this would not be the case. Felonious assault with intent to do bodily harm less than murder carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Williams said that sentence wouldn't happen if the two are convicted because they were minors at the time of the alleged offenses.

"If convicted, jail is unlikely, but possible. More likely (would be) a (juvenile) detention facility ... and they would be released when they turn 18," Edwards-Brown said. "Hypothetically, if convicted of something, then yes they have that felony record. They’ll have to say that for the rest of their life."

The online petitions compare the prosecution of the three to a “modern day lynching.” All three teens are black.

“Not one player of non African-American descent has been suspended, expelled and/or criminally charged with felonies. Their coaches were the initiators of this brawl. None of whom have been found criminally responsible,” the petitions state.

The petition's organizer is identified on as "LC Jackson." Lifelong Ann Arbor resident Shirley Beckley said she is one of several concerned citizens that make up the group LC Jackson. Beckley said she is an Ann Arbor High School graduate and her children and grandchildren attended Pioneer.

Beckley said in an email that she and the group believe the teens' treatment is a racial injustice and shows "unethical conduct." She said members of LC Jackson have attended the three teens' court hearings and will continue to "seek outside help to bring justice to these young men."

Williams said she's seen the online petition for her client, Teenager #1, but that neither she nor her client had anything to do with it and have not been contacted by the petitions' organizers.

Officials with the prosecutor’s office are aware of the petitions, but have declined to comment.

The brawl began after Pioneer assistant coach Vincent Wortmann shoved Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve, who he saw as a physical threat to Pioneer head coach Paul Test during the postgame handshake. Test alleges Gildersleeve was pushing him.

Wortmann was fired for his actions but never charged criminally, while Test and Gildersleeve were both suspended for two games for their roles in the brawl. Both head coaches eventually resigned.

Williams said petitions can impact how cases are dealt with, referencing a similar case last year where charges against four Dearborn Heights Star Academy players charged with felony assault had charges dropped after a community outcry alleged racial inequity. Williams said that may not be how this case would work.

"I’m not quite sure how the prosecutor would take it. It could just make them angry," said Williams, who said she'd be contacting the prosecutor's office about the petition. "I want to make sure it’s clear it’s not me or (Teenager #1) who organized this."

Ann Arbor Public Schools never released the names of the six Pioneer players suspended for one game following the brawl, but Garain was kicked off the team. Teenager #2 did not play in Pioneer’s Oct. 19 contest against Livonia Franklin, but did play in the team’s two playoff games.

Teenager #1 was not one of the suspended players and played in each of Pioneer's three games following the brawl. Williams -- who is a family friend of Teenager #1 -- had been following the case and was surprised when she heard her client was being brought up on charges.

"When the initial punishments came down, he wasn’t disciplined at all, so there’s clearly some disconnect. I have spoke with (school) administrators and asked that specific question.

"Coupled with his background -- he's a good student, excels academically and athletically -- the charges don't make sense,” Williams said. "I think it's a gross case of overcharging."

Teenager #1's guardian declined to comment on the petition or the charges.

"We're just trying to move forward and try to focus on dealing with the charges, and then move our focus to (Teenager #1) going to college," the teen's guardian said.

Teenager #2 could not be reached for comment.

Teenager #1 and Teenager #2 were charged in December and Williams said she is still in the discovery phase and not had a chance to review all of the prosecutor's evidence yet.

As of Thursday evening, one of the petitions had 407 signatures, Garain’s had 381 and the other had 68. The petition encourages those who sign to contact Prosecutor Brian Mackie directly as well as their congressman and the Detroit Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Attempts to reach the Detroit NAACP office was unsuccessful.

Ann Arbor School Board member Simone Lightfoot , who has been a vocal advocate for African-American students, wouldn't comment on the specific accusations of the petitions but said she was encouraged to see people supporting the students.

"These young boys have a lot of issues facing them, and we as a community have to be concerned about that," Lightfoot said. "I’m happy that people people are involved and people are concerned and that they’re actually weighing in."

Lightfoot said she hopes to discuss several issues regarding the brawl with her colleagues on the board, including policies and procedures to avoid anything similar from happening in the future and how the students currently being charged are dealt with.

"My concern primarily is that they’re children, they’re still kids. I know people will say one is 18, but he's in our school, under our care, and still a child in my mind.

"I think we as adults have to figure out a way that we preserve their future, not do anything to help hinder it. Even when they do things that may hinder their future," Lightfoot said. "I think it’s our job to really lay down the rules, but not be so punitive that they’re not able to recover. We always want to set them up to do better and be wiser, but not cripple them from the gate and that’s important."

Pete Cunningham covers sports for Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 7:19 a.m.

There is no way coach Glenny should be brought back by any school...........he is the one who ran up the scores and gets to go hide in the corner and play innocent like a little scrub.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 3:43 a.m.

Well, that should say something about their color and crime rates....

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

I need the knowledgeable amongst us to explain to the difference between some history and the current topic of discussion here. Many people here claim race has nothing to do with the decision to only charge African Americans when plenty of laws were broken by white people during the same incident, but no whites have been charged. The history being recalled here is an incident some years ago where Brian Mackie, while still the DA, was observed by a police officer pounding on a pay phone to jimmy free some coins in the mechanism. This police officer observed Mr. Mackie (the DA) removing coins from the public pay phone after pounding on it. Aside from the embarrassment of being publicly revealed as a self-righteous hypocrite, Mr. Mackie suffered no prosecution or any sanction of any kind and continues in his elected position as DA. I would really like for our prosecutor to explain how he managed to arrive at the decision not to prosecute someone stealing money from a pay phone while the only people to face charges in the above incident happen to be African American.

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 6 p.m.

genetracy, '...afterall Ann Arber is the "Mississippi of the North"' Your words, not mine. If you were black you might sometimes feel that way. I've simply noticed that when middle class white people are charged, for example in the Vincent Chin case in Detroit, the attention immediately turns to how the criminal charges will affect the defendant while no such consideration is shown to black people; can you explain this? I am not sure what the solution is to this case is, but I am sure this case is hopelessly tainted with racial prejudice on the part of the Prosecutor. We can be rest assured that the defendants in this case will not be shown the same deference that Brian Mackie showed himself several years ago when he was stealing coins from a pay phone.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

Oh Gee, the poilce and prosecutors were wrong in who was charged? All of the video of the incident was wrong or worse doctored? Only blacks were charged because afterall Ann Arber is the "Mississippi of the North"?

Frustrated in A2

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

Black, white, yellow, orange, green or polka dot if you commit a felony then be ready to accept the consequences.

Mr. Ed

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Can't we all just get along.

Joel A. Levitt

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 6:09 a.m.

Guilt or innocence will be determined at trial, where all evidence will be presented. Probably very few or no commenters know very much about what actually happened, but that hasn't stopped them from passing judgment. I'm proud to be an Ann Arborite, but that pride is certainly diluted by the fear and racial prejudice evidenced here.


Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

I concur.


Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 3:30 a.m.

So what is the complaint here? The wrong people were charged? Because they're black? Well, that's what court is for. Bring on the tapes. In the meantime, please quit whining about race.

Jim Mulchay

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 2:18 a.m.

This article might be a good example of when not to allow reader comments. Just print the story and let it go at that.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

you are assuming reporters went out of their way to find this story, how do you know the petitioners didn't contact


Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Jim, you really make a good point. As a news outlet, they need to consider wether they are going to be a reporter of the news or a blogging extravaganza thunder dome. Sometimes people haven't even been charged yet and these A2 reports turn into these witch burning mobs. And you know theses writers love to see their articles filled with a high number of reviews. I am sure there are bragging rights to this. Back when there was print media newspapers would filter letters and print 3-5 letters daily. Now we have unlimited, so called filtered, responses that go beyond the reporting the facts. Where is the fiduciary responsibility of A2 News to people they are reporting on. When editors open up for comments on sensitive issues they should be practicing "Primum non nocere" --do no harm-- a doctors oath. A2 News needs to go back and think about what there role is in news reporting. Are people's opinions, like mine, really news. As Joe Friday of Dragnet once said "Just the facts ma'am." could be a future consideration on some articles.

Basic Bob

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 3:05 a.m.

A good example of when online petitions should not be allowed, too.

Debbie Harris

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 1:49 a.m.

I can assure everyone that the one videotape that was released to the public, is not the only video of this incident. There are many, many more. Additionally, there are irrefutable photographs of evidence. I know this because I am the mother of the student they assaulted and we have spent the past three months living through this and cooperating with the investigation. For the petitioner to say that " These players were defending themselves in a hail of chaos" is grossly misleading and not factual. If someone is pinned to the ground, does not have a helmet on, and you intentionally, knowingly and deliberately kick them in the face using your football are not acting in self defense, you are assaulting. We have never heard from the young men involved, their families or the district. We have paid all our own medical bills and have not sought legal advice, contratry to rumors. Also, fyi.. players who are not African American were suspended. The two teens being charged without their names given, were not in the middle of the melee, they were quite a bit away from it, down the other end of the field. That is why this assault was not captured in the video that was released that showed only the "main brawl." A coach had to pull my son from the ground as they were attempting to kick him again. They were not in any danger, they were not being assaulted, they saw a Huron player on the ground and did what they wanted. My son will walk around with a scar for the rest of his life, less than an inch from his eye (yes, I'm thankful it was not any closer to his eye or any worse of an injury). Please don't make this a racial issue when you don't have all the facts, you haven't seen the evidence. If you used a weapon, you are being charged. And yes, a metal spike on your football cleat is clearly a weapon and you knew that when you saw blood and yet attempted to kick again. This is not a racial injustice and to petition it as such

Stuart Brown

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:07 a.m.

Statistics from AAPS show that blacks are about four times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students; so what is the solution? Some districts don't suspend or expel students; why doesn't Ann Arbor follow this model? I also suspect blacks are more often targeted for enforcement actions by police. This is born out by statistics on drug convictions showing that while blacks are no more likely to be involved with illegal drug activity but are much more likely to be arrested and convicted for illegal drug activity. If more whites had been charged with crimes, I would have believed that the prosecution in this case was color blind, but given the fact that only blacks have been charged, I am very concerned about justice being achieved here.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

So Stuart, as I a stated in an earlier post, should affirmative action guidelines be used when it comes to the arrest and charging of suspects? According to DOJ statistics, blacks commit a disproportionate amount violent crime in this country as compared to the other races. Why is that ,is it because when a crime is commited, the police and prosecutors have nothing better to do than look for the nearest black person and arrest him, becuase he is well, black?

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 2:48 a.m.

The facts are that African Americans are far more likely to be charged, convicted and harshly punished for the same offenses that white people perpetrate. Apparently white people feel sorry for white perpetrators and concern themselves with what a conviction would do to the perpetrator but have no similar qualms when the perpetrator is black. Law enforcement will claim on a stack of bibles that race has nothing to do with their decisions but statistics say otherwise.


Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Thank you. I only wish your comment was at the beginning rather than towards the end so it could have been read by all who commented yesterday. Good luck to your family.

Debbie Harris

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

is disingenuous.


Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

It appears that tempers are high, comments are getting deleted left and right, and people have strong opinions about what is going on. Please take a deep breath, exhale, and take a big swig of ketchup.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

'only people charged following the melee are African-American teens" that's the media want them too do fight to re-enforcer old stereotype!! listen bill Cosby!!!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

poor little black kids they where on that filed of dreams angles!

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

An online petition? I'll bet prosecutors are just shaking in their boots!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

"Let the brother go!" Paul Newman Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981)


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Um what about the white kid for Pioneer that dropped one of Huron's coaches???

Old time A2

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:22 p.m.

Guilty? Pay the time for the crime? Let a judge or jurry decide not a close group of friends and the NAACP! Maybe Obama can bail them out with a stimulas program.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Amazing how these three can only try to find someone else to blame for their actions. Did they engage in this brawl? yes or no?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

I don't know, these petitions might backfire and make prosecutors dig in their heels. Dismissing charges based solely on race could sure open up lots of cans of worms, imo.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

After watching the video it has been determined that there were no Italian Americans, Jewish Americans, Chinese Americans, Irish Americans, Spanish Americans, German Americans, Polish Americans etc. participating in this mess......only African who should be charged?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

Some whites need to charged for the sake of recial balance.

Old time A2

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.



Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Just FYI, according to the Federal Government, the correct word is "black", as that is what will be used in the next Census. Everyone can calm down now.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

I didn't know anyone was from Africa. I guess I'm Irish American?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

It looks Washtenew County will have its first racial show trial.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

The only reason I got in trouble was because I'm black. Using that as a defense is only going to create additional problems my black friends. America no longer accepts that ridiculous and long ago forgotten defense for every bad decision made by black people.


Sun, Jan 13, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Well Laura, if blacks did not commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime in this country (check DOJ statistics), then so many blacks would not be arrested.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Actually Laura, my facts show quite the opposite of yours.

Laura Jones

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

Except when it's true. What then? I am not saying it is in this case. However, racial preferences in policing action and in prosecuting are alive and well in the US and facts bear that out.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

Sorry but being black isn't a defense. You chose to behave like violent morons now face the music.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

I could not imagine getting a felony from a school fight. I stabbed a kid with a pencil in middle school that kept pestering me and that kid got in trouble for getting blood on the desk. Those were the days!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

The petition against the "modern day lynching" lists the name and photo of one of the minors involved only. So they are petitioning to stop only ONE of the "modern day lynchings"? The verbiage of the petition really sugarcoats this and lays not one shred of responsibility on the student. The student is just a "victim" of the whole situation. Also, this group chose to only involve one newscaster on their petition---an African American male---who's playing favorites now?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

All three are listed, and one of the "unnamed minors" is using a very youthful photo. Out of curiosity, is Pioneer a school of choice?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Thanks Pete, I only clicked on the first link.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

There are actually three separate petitions that state the same case but all three teens. Whichever petition you were looking at, if you follow the links you can find the other two.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

So the filing of criminal charges should be based on affirmative action considerations?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

I know that people have been prosecuted for 'inciting a riot' and that it is illegal to do so. Why aren't the coaches, who started this fight, being held accountable?

Tony Livingston

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

Responsibility for this fiasco should fall on the shoulders of the coaches, not the kids. The kids are the scapegoats.

Laura Jones

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

It's some fairly lopsided responsibility taking. Their leaders should also be held more accountable. The actions of the coaches are what led to the entire situation.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

I think it should fall on the parents and grand-parents............are you kidding? This lack of accountability and personal responsibility is what is ruining these kids


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

I don't see this as a racial issue, but I do have a problem with only the kids seeing real consequences for a fight that the coaches started. The purpose of sports is to teach life lessons of fair play, humility, and winning and losing with grace. It is quite clear that the coaches taught these kids the very opposite lessons.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

It is such a shame that they had to see the coaches behaving badly.

harry b

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Can't we have a little faith that the prosecuter is charging the right people and not only african americans. If you weren't there or have not seen it you can not have an opinion.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

Mike is right. The term "African-American" also assumes they're Americans. How do we know that? I have lived in places in this country where calling a black person an "African-American" would have been very insulting because they were actually citizens of a Caribbean nation.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

Are they really from Africa? Or are you just saying that because they are a differnt color than you?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

Could you please reprint the information on when Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson are arriving in town ?

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

The Justice Brothers to the rescue!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Equality lives in Ann Arbor.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Coleman Young would be proud that someone is using his "go to" play, right out of his old playbook "The Race Card". What next....the defense attorneys standing up in court declaring "If the crutch doesn't fit, you must acquit!"?

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

It is too early for april fool's day.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Why was my question (a legitimate question about kids being called African Americans when they are not from Africa) deleted? According to your commenting guidelines, I did not break any rules. Unless you are being overly politically correct, which wouldnt surprise me...

Not from around here

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

Actually Pete and Kyle, the off topic excuse seems to applied only to comments that dislikes for "other reason". Comments that are off topic, including on this comment thread, that seem to say conservatives don't like punishing white people for starting fights are left even though they are off topic and racist are left up. allows certain commentors to interject attacks on republicans and Conservatives on any thread they want, on topic or off. You bias is showing.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Hi A2James, Brad was actually spot on, it was removed for being off topic.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

James, are you white? Hate to break it to you, but you're considered European American.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

To answer your question A2James, "African American" was the language used in the petition and when it is used in the article it is in reference to its use in the petition or a quote from the petition.

harry b

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

My great great grandfather was from Italy. It would be odd to call me Italian American.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Because that's another fight for another day. Your question would have been entirely legitimate...but it doesn't really pertain to the story...and they got itchy delete fingers...


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

If that's the only part that made sense to you, that would be your problem, and not or its readership's fault or problem :)


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Off topic posts can be deleted (per the guidelines), and the first words of yours were an admission that it was off topic. Actually that's the only part that made sense.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Does the evidence support criminal charges against these three only or should others be accused as well? These charges will have to be proven in court but meanwhile the three defendants must pay for legal counsel, will lose considerable time to the legal system and may be stigmatized. If found guilty then the costs and inconveniences are justified. However, the system will not compensate them for their losses if they are found innocent (unless they successfully counter sue).


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Hey Pete, please fix this sentence: "All three teens are all black." Unless, by the redundancy, you meant to imply that some of them could have been partially black. ;^)

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Thanks for pointing out the redundancy of that redundancy. The change has been changed. Joking. Seriously, thank you.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

@blameyourself - A bit, yes. But, as a writer, I hate when I miss a redundancy in my writing and appreciate having it pointed out. ;^),


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

Picky, picky, picky.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Fastest way to make people shy away from your cause is making claims that are quickly refuted WITH VIDEO EVIDENCE. If you feel that non-black individuals should be charged with crimes THEN PLEASE SHOW US ON THE VIDEO WHO ALSO COMMITTED A CRIME?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:25 p.m.

I guess Conservatives don't agree that people who start fights should be punished. (As long as they're white)

Nate R.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

My understanding is that ANYONE who threw a punch, or shoved someone in anger (i.e. NOT pushing someone away from the conflict) could be charged with assault.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

how about the people that started the fight? the coaches.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

First, a brawl west of Carpenter Road and now this. I swear I just saw a pig fly and a monkey just appeared from under my chair.

Chad Williams

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

From every article i have read about this matter it seems to me 3 adults who were the coaches began the fight. No charges against the right? Why are 3 teens being charged regardless of race and not the 3 men who are supposed to be setting examples for the teens. What is lost behind the race thing is that 3 men who hold responsibility to these kids acted in a irresponsible way. They are not being held accountable for their actions why should the kids. The second thing out of lets say 100 people how do you pick out only 3 people to charge. The story was a brawl not a fight i would think in a brawl 3 kids where the only students fighting? Now it does matter about race cause if were 3 white kids everyone would be pointing to the coaches as the problem. But i see most comments i have seen everyone wants to hold the black kids accountable and not the coaches. If the kids are being charged why not the coaches? The coaches actions caused all of this. If this was a murder case they would be charged with murder as well because their acts resulted in someone being hurt regardless of who actually did it.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

@gerry; This is incorrect. The Test was not a teacher. He was retired (from the district). Gildersleeve is still teaching. Neither were officially fired, but we can all probably read between the lines here.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

The schools should have terminated all coaches involved- both from coaching and teaching. That whole "role model" thing is kind of important.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

The prosecutor's office did look into charging at least one coach, Vincent Wortmann, but decided there wasn't enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed a crime. Though actions of some adults involved seem to have unquestionably been inappropriate, in Wortmann's the school decided it was cause for firing, that doesn't necessarily mean a crime was committed.

Chad Williams

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

my point is there should be way more than 3 people charged. Pushing, shoving, or throwing a punch is a crime. Making threats is an assualt. So if the tape shows only those 3 kids fighting and the other 90 people high fiving each other than fine. All all those players im sure they werent the only ones fighting. Like i said it was a brawl not a fight between a few players. Some besides 3 people committed a crime maybe not a felony but they did something.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Chad, if you recall correctly, the coaches were suspended. They did NOT use any violence other than their voices.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Because MAYBE those adults used their words and fists....not WEAPONS. Picking up a weapon when all your opponent has are fists is a sign of fear and weakness...sucker punching someone with that weapon...well we all know what that's a sign of...


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

The one person in the video swung that crutch like he was Paul Bunyan and the kid on the ground was a tree to be felled. Until I saw that I was actually feeling sorry for him, too.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

"how do you pick out only 3 people to charge." I'm guessing the three that used a weapon.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

"Not one player of non African-American descent has been suspended, expelled and/or criminally charged with felonies. " Might that be because no non-African-American didn't (allegedly) commit felony? If so, quit whining. If not, point them out, then you have a legitimate complaint.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I stand corrected. The PC speak makes it tough sometimes.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

"Might that be because no non-African-American didn't (allegedly) commit felony?" Try fixing your double negative... Unless you really meant to say non-African-Americans committed felonies. lol


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

We should just toss some white kids into the judicial system to make this faux outrage just go away. After all, what difference does evidence make when we're talking about social equality?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

This is really stupid. DON'T charge a guy because he's black??? NOW I've heard it all!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

It happens Lefty but I still don't think a bunch of immature, impulsive, high school kids should get felony charges that will stick with them and take away their rights. Most boys don't mature until they are 23-25. Insurance companies seem to know that, because that's when they drop their rates. That's also why the government takes them at age 18 for the military; these kids think they're invincible and don't think at that age............


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Wow!!! This took me completely by surprise!!! Maybe because there is no crime for "specifically" beating someone with an aluminum crutch.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

Yes there is, it's called" felonious assault " when you use a weapon which includes a aluminum crutch,


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

What a bunch of baloney. Now we are supposed to have racial quotas on who gets charged with crimes. This attitude is not helpful for anyone involved. If the individuals concerned perpetrated a crime, then they should be prosecuted. If they didn't, don't charge them. The fact that they may be black, white, Asian or whatever, should have absolutely no bearing in the eyes of the laws or the citizenry. This attempt to "rescue" kids because of their color is really offensive and should not be a factor in any legal sense.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Exactly Basic Bob. I wonder if the vicious fight in the lunchroom a few months back was swept under the discipline gap carpet since there was a racial component to it?

Basic Bob

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

This is how they address the discipline gap. Amazing that no students were suspended for fighting at a school event. Has Dr. Green responded to the board regarding their "investigation"?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

This would never happen at a Quiz Bowl tournament.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

I'm guessing as soon as any physical altercation began everybody would have to reach for their inhalers.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

I dunno....our Latin competitions got pretty vicious...


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

The charges are clearly a result of profiling. Looks like they're out to get anyone seen committing an assault during the melee.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

I got it Runs.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Note to self: you're no good at sarcasm


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

It seems to me they are just charging the 3 who used weapons


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

this is not a black or white issue. it is a law issue which all of use are under. so i think let it be the person vs the color. if a person is violating the law. then they should be governed by the law. the message should be sent to others. do not do this or you will face a penalty

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

If these young men are convicted and want to appeal but can't afford it, I and I am sure many others will be happy to contribute to a defense fund.

Joel A. Levitt

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

@ jcj If a trial judge permits an appeal or a judge of the appeals court accepts the appeal, that means that there may be a legitimate basis for reversing. I have two reasons for contemplating contributing to a defense fund. First we may make sure that justice is done. Second, I don't want anyone to have a basis for claiming that the young men, if convicted, were railroaded because they were too poor to employ qualified counsel.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

Joel Please explain your logic in contributing to a defense fund for the person that DID swing the crutch. He could have killed someone or broke his neck!

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

@ a2citizen None, but convicted and guilty are not the same thing.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

What's the purpose in appealing if your guilty?

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

The prosecutor's office should not comment until the courts are done with the young men's cases. However, video tapes of the brawl exist, and any convictions can be set aside if it is established that due to racial discrimination they have been denied the equal protection of the law. If the young men in question are guilty, I hope that the 19 year old will plea bargain his way to a lesser charge and that the courts will sentence them to treatment rather than to incarceration.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

I would like to know what the evidence is that they are using for these charges. I don't think the race card should play a factor in this, HOWEVER the evidence will. From the one video of the incident that's been released, I don't see the assualt with a dangerous weapon that was supposedly the basis of the charges against on of the players. I don't see the swing of the crutch that supposedly happened. If these genetleman did the crimes, they need to be penalized under the law. Do I think any of them deserve jail time or detention time over this if they are convicted? Based on what I've seen no, but I have not seen all the evidence. I think the penalties should be done under the Holmes Youthful Trainee program which basically gives them a clean slate once they finish the sentence assigned upon conviction. Either way this is a sad story that continues to make both schools look bad.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

As stated in the article above, one of the teens who has been charged was NOT suspended by the team or school after officials reviewed the evidence and interviewed people involved, so chapmaja, you're not the only one who wants to see this evidence. So to does that teen's lawyer.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

This story does not make both schools look bad. Pioneer students and a coach made their team look bad when they began assaulting the opposing team. There must be consequences, and the school district is unwilling to act.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Sparky, I think chap meant besides the video. Oh, yeah, and besides the eyewitnesses, including the referee who held him back. Oh, yeah and beside the fingerprints on the crutch. Besides that, what evidence is there?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

You didn't see the kid wearing the black hoodie at the 46 second mark of the video hand off a crutch to a teammate, then proceed to wield the other crutch like a baseball bat, follow the group of players, then at the 53 second mark wind up and totally hack a player on the ground with the crutch? It's pretty darn obvious in the video...


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

How about dismissing anyone wearing a hoodie? Bobby Rush, Capitol Hill's hoodie-wearing, Trayvon-supporting congressman, who got kicked off the House floor says you can't discriminate against anyone wearing a hoodie.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

I don't like to make everything about race, but when I hear people making jokes about a kid that was killed in such a tragic situation as Trayvon Martin, it makes me wonder...


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

Huh???? you'll need to explain that one, cuz I don't get it

Jackie Chiles

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

If the crutch don't fit, you must acquit... It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous!!!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.



Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.



Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Did you create your user name just for this article? Comment of the year!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time. That has always done well for me.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

Oh please...


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

Playing the race card. What a surprise!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

Of course as usual let them go because they're black.Well maybe,just maybe, they were the only ones using weapons.

Nate R.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

tdw ~ I understand that the prosecutors are the ones who ultimately decide who gets charged, and with what. Bringing this back to the original article, I believe that this decision process needs more transparency and accountability. Historically, and arguably still today, statistics show that minorities are charged more often, and with more charges, than whites for committing the same crimes. I'm not saying that is what happened here. But given these facts I think it is reasonable to demand/request more information on how decisions were made. *Warning rant coming* Don't even get me started on prosecutors piling on charges to scare people into taking plea bargains. It's not the defendants fault the criminal justice system is overburdened. That honor goes to law makers who don't provide adequate resources to the judiciary to handle the laws they themselves created.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

Nate.....I got to thinking ( ok bring on the comments ) if you swung at me and missed that would be simple assault.If you hit me that would be assault and battery.My point is the crutches made the BIG difference.If one of the idiots started swinging a helmet he should be charged as well.And you need to realize that if the cops bring a certain charge that doesn't mean the DA will bring them.These cop shows ( witch I laugh at )just because the police arrest someone for whatever does not mean that is what the DA goes for.Police routinely over charge because they know how the system works

Nate R.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

tdw ~ Thanks!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

If this sernerio (< sorry not finding it in my spell check ) happened you more than likely would not be charged.If you were beating me to a bloody pulp that would be different.Now If I didn't dinner roll you and just socked in in the head that would be SA ( simple assault ) If I fought back that would be mutual combat.BUT if the manager got p'od and complained then we both be disorderly.The thing here is that when the metal crutches got a swingin that took it to a totally different level. Now be prepared for a surprise test on the section " being stupid and fighting "

Nate R.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

tdw ~ Thanks for helping clarify the definition of FA for me. I have another question: Say you were to, "get mad at [me] and bop [me] upside the head with a dinner roll in a restaurant and be charged with FA," and I go over and punch you, and we engage in "mutual combat." If a cop witnesses the entire scenario, What are his/her options? Could you be charged with a crime for starting the altercation by throwing the roll? Could I be charged for throwing the first punch? Could we both be charged? Or, could neither of us be charged? If starting/escalating a fight can be FA, misdemeanor assault, or even disorderly conduct, is a crime there should be some rational on why only certain crimes (FA) and not others (non-FA or disorderly conduct) were not.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:45 p.m. combat is not a crime it were, 2/3 of the males in Ypsi would be in Jail.Someone would have to press charges.Felonious assault is a crime.If witnessed by police in person or video they are obliged to press charges.The article states they are being charged with felonious assault.If they were being charged with disorderly conduct and no one else was I could see your point but this is not the case here.In fact ,even disorderly conduct there would have to be a complainant other than the police.I could get mad at you and bop you upside the head with a dinner roll in a restaurant and be charged with FA.I was a cop in Detroit so I'm quite familiar with this type of thing

Nate R.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

tdw, I agree that those who hit people who hit people with the crutch committed a crime. The point I was trying to make was that many people involved committed a crime as well (fighting can be prosecuted as assault), they were just not charged. I believe that in order to evaluate IF there is any underlying racial bias, how the decisions on what crimes to prosecute needs to be made available. genetracy, are you serious or being sarcastic? I honestly can't tell. If you are serious, do you believe that the issue of racism in America has been resolved and put to rest?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Just what we need Nate. More dialogue.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:23 p.m. my last sentence.If you use a weapon it becomes felonious assault as in a felony

Nate R.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

I think that the issue being raised by the petitioners has more to do with the issue of selective prosecution, than just dismissing the charges against the students that have been charged. Given the fact that a large number of people of many different races appear to have committed crimes (presumably misdemeanors and felonies), I think it is fair to question how the decision of who to prosecute, and for what crimes, was made. In my opinion, the appearance of racial bias does warrant further discussion of why these, and not the other students, were charged with crimes.