GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KTLA) — A mother is facing jail time after yelling at her daughter to hit another girl during a basketball game in a caught-on-video incident in Garden Grove, California, last month, the Orange County District Attorney announced Thursday.
The mother, 44-year-old Latira Shonty Hunt, was in the stands on Nov. 7 watching her teenage daughter compete in a youth basketball game when she allegedly yelled, “you better hit her for that,” after her daughter had an interaction with a rival player on the court.
Viral video shows her daughter then sucker-punching the other player, a 15-year-old girl, in the face. That girl then collapsed on the court following the “unprovoked attack,” officials said.
Hunt was charged with one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one misdemeanor count of battery, according to the DA’s office.
She faces a maximum sentence of one year in Orange County Jail if convicted on all counts.
“It is unconscionable that a parent would encourage her child to engage in violence during a sporting event,” O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
The father of the girl who punched the other player, former NBA player Corey Benjamin, issued an apology in response to the incident.
“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,” he said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.
The incident took place at an event hosted by Avac United, which organizes games for youth between the ages of 13 to 16 across Southern California.
The victim’s mother, Alice Ham, told Nexstar’s KTLA that she knew something was wrong when her daughter came back home disoriented after her basketball game. Ham later found out what happened when teammates and other parents filled her in and showed her the video.
The Ham family released a statement through their attorney after charges were announced.
“The Ham family is pleased with the decision by the Orange County District Attorney to file charges against Latira Hunt,” the statement read. “We believe that this is the correct decision and the first step toward ensuring that there is accountability. There is no place in sports for a parent to incite violence against another child. We are hopeful that this will serve to discourage this type of behavior in the future.”
The CEO of Avac United, Gary Thomas, told KTLA that the organization has banned the girl who punched Ham’s daughter and Hunt until further notice.