State Watch

California mother charged for allegedly telling daughter to hit opponent in basketball game

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California prosecutors charged a mother who allegedly told her daughter to punch another player during a basketball game last month, announcing two misdemeanor counts against her on Thursday.

The District Attorney’s Office in Orange County charged 44-year-old Latira Hunt of La Puente, Calif., with one misdemeanor count of battery and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She faces a maximum of one year in prison if convicted, according to a press release from the DA’s office.

During a high-school basketball tournament on Nov. 7 at the Maps Sports Facility in Garden Grove, Calif., Hunt’s daughter interacted with another player on the court, according to NBC Los Angeles. From her position in the stands, Hunt allegedly shouted at her daughter, “You better hit her for that.”

Moments later, the daughter slugged the other player. The hit was captured in a viral video.

The player who was hit reported a concussion and filed a police report following the assault, according to NBC Los Angeles.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in a girl’s basketball game,” Kevin Hahn, the attorney for the victim, said in an appearance on California television station KRON 4.

In a statement, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said the mother’s encouragement of violence was “unconscionable.”

“A win at all costs mentality that is completely devoid of fair play, respect, and civility is disgusting,” he said. “We as parents have the fundamental responsibility to raise our children to be good human beings who treat others with kindness and humanity. Competitive greatness is something that should be encouraged, but encouraging violence against a rival player is criminal.”

After the incident, the girl’s father, former Chicago Bulls player Corey Benjamin, apologized for the incident. Benjamin said he was “shocked and disappointed” by his daughter’s behavior.

“This is now how I raised my daughter,” he told NBC Los Angeles. “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. My daughter made a mistake. One that she will need to make right. I am committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct.”

Tags assault California Corey Benjamin Latira Hunt Santa Ana

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