Former football coach files suit over injuries sustained in postgame brawl

awomack@macon.comOctober 18, 2013 

A former high school football coach struck in the face with a player’s helmet after a 2011 Hancock Central High football game has filed a federal lawsuit seeking damages against school officials, three off-duty deputies and the player who allegedly struck him.

The suit, filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, names the Hancock County school district; Hancock County deputies Richard Mayweather, Tampa Lewis and Patrick L. Williams; and football lineman Kendrez Mayweather.

Attempts to reach the school district, the deputies and Mayweather were unsuccessful Friday.

David A. Daniel, former head coach for the Warren County High School football team, is seeking compensation for his medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. He also seeks punitive damages against the deputies and Kendrez Mayweather.

Macon lawyer Jerry Lumley said Daniel has been unable to coach or teach since the Oct. 14, 2011, confrontation.

“He is still receiving care for his injuries and, in all likelihood, will have to do so for the remainder of his life,” Lumley said.

Here’s how the lawsuit describes events that allegedly happened both during the fight in which Daniel was injured and the events that led up to it:

In fall 2011, Hancock Central High and Warren County High were sports rivals.

At the beginning of the football season, Warren County’s team was led by head coach Marleau Blount. Blount was replaced by Daniel hours before the first game of the season. Hancock Central then hired Blount as an assistant football coach and teacher.

Hancock Central played Washington-Wilkes High a week before the scheduled game between Hancock Central and Warren County. Because Warren County had a bye week, some members of the Warren team went to see the game and got into a verbal altercation with Hancock players after the game. Police and school officials intervened, and at least one player was handcuffed.

Players from Hancock Central and Warren County “taunted and threatened” each other before the Oct. 14, 2011, Hancock Central homecoming game, which was played in front of a large crowd.

Before the game, a Warren County law enforcement officer asked the Hancock County school district about security and was told that 12 Hancock County deputies and Sparta police officers would be on hand. No more than four were present.

At least one Hancock Central player was ejected during the game for fighting. Warren County won 21-2.

As Warren County players left the field, several Hancock Central band members ran toward the Warren County band, “taunting and attempting to provoke them” until directors from both bands placed themselves between the students.

Daniel approached the Hancock Central football players, who had stayed on the field with their coaches, and told them that they had played a good game. Some of the Hancock Central coaches and players became angry.

The Warren County team found that its locker room door was locked. Kendrez Mayweather and at least one other Hancock Central player taunted them, and one of the Warren County players responded by telling them to look at the scoreboard.

Mayweather and other Hancock Central players rushed the Warren County team and a fight erupted. The three off-duty deputies sprayed the Warren County players with pepper spray.

Mayweather allegedly used a football helmet to strike the head of a Warren County player who had been pepper sprayed and had fallen to the ground.

Daniel intervened as the player tried to get up, and Mayweather pulled the helmet back for a second strike. Mayweather allegedly struck Daniel in the face with the helmet.

Daniel suffered serious facial injuries that have required multiple surgeries to repair injuries to his eyes. He also sustained a head injury that caused him to be treated at the Shepherd Center’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program in Atlanta.

Daniel alleges that the school district failed to provide proper security at the game and failed to take disciplinary action against Mayweather.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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