A California woman who told her daughter to punch a rival player during a youth basketball game has been ordered to pay the victim more than $9,000 in restitution and apologize to the girl.
Latira Shonty Hunt, 44, was charged in December with one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one misdemeanor count of battery, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
According to prosecutors, the attack took place Nov. 7 during a game two club teams played during a tournament in the city of Garden Grove near Los Angeles.
Hunt was caught on cell phone video yelling “you better hit her for that” after her daughter fell to the ground on a previous play involving the victim, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer told USA TODAY.
Seconds later, the rival player collapsed on the court following an “unprovoked attack.”
The blow crumpled the then 15-year-old victim “to the floor like a rag doll,” Spitzer previously said. The girl suffered a concussion, according to her family’s lawyer.
Hunt appeared in court Wednesday where a county superior court judge granted her misdemeanor diversion in exchange for completing a series of requirements over the next two years, including writing an apology letter to the victim, her parents and both basketball teams, prosecutors said.
The judge ordered Hunt to complete anger management classes before she can attend basketball games again. She was also ordered to stay away from the victim, the district attorney’s office reported.
Spitzer said the punch came following a physical turnover play during which Hunt’s daughter tried to block a shot and the other girl fell to the ground after attempting to score.
“The ball now has changed hands and they’re going back to the other basket,” Spitzer said, and that’s when he said Hunt encouraged her daughter to hit the other girl.
‘Willing to hurt another’
Youth sports play a crucial role in developing discipline, teamwork and fair play, Spitzer wrote in a news release provided by his office.
“A grown adult directing a child to use violence against another child on the basketball court is reprehensible,” he said. “By instructing her own daughter to engage in violence, she is not only responsible for injuring an innocent child as if she punched her with her own fist, but she transformed her own child into someone who is willing to hurt another child.”
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The girl who threw the punch is the daughter of former NBA player Corey Benjamin, who issued an apology shortly after seeing the video.
“As a father, I’m shocked and disappointed at my daughter’s behavior as this is not a reflection of the values and standards that my family holds. Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires,” Benjamin said in a statement after the attack. His pro career included stints with the Chicago Bulls, the Atlanta Hawks and overseas teams.
The alleged victim’s lawyer, Kevin Hahn, previously told USA TODAY the family was pleased with the DA’s decision to charge the mother.
Hunt could not immediately be reached by USA TODAY.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.