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Footage Shows Cheerleading Coach In the Act

Ozell Williams, a former cheerleading coach at East High School in Denver, has not received criminal charges after a video emerged of him forcing young cheerleaders into painful positions. The video shows Mr. Williams pushing eight young girls into the splits position while they cry out in pain and beg Mr. Williams to “please stop.”

Despite the damning footage, Beth McCann, a Denver-based District Attorney, has released a statement about the ruling, emphasizing that the state didn’t possess enough evidence to charge or convict Mr. Williams.

The video first reached the public after it was submitted to a local media outlet and broadcast by KUSA-TV. After the viral recordings – which were captured on a mobile phone – were uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, it wasn’t long before East High School terminated Mr. Williams’ employment.

The shocking footage also led to the resignation of the school’s athletic director, Lisa Porter, and the early retirement of the school’s principal, Andy Mendelsberg.

After the initial KUSA-TV broadcast, local police launched an investigation into Mr. Williams and the athletic practices at East High School. However, after months of interviewing, investigators could not find any further evidence of abusive behavior.

In her press release, Ms. McCann agreed that the confronting video was “painful to watch,” but disputed claims that Mr. Williams was performing a “prosecutable crime.”

Arguing that reasonable doubt still existed, Ms. McCann made the difficult decision to not press criminal charges against Mr. Williams.

“After a very thorough and careful review of all of the evidence gathered in the investigation and the statements of many members of the cheerleading squad…I conclude that Mr. Williams has not operated in a way that precludes reasonable doubt,” recalled Ms. McCann.

The outspoken District Attorney continued to discuss the case further, condemning Williams for his training methods and casting doubt on his character.

“While I believe the technique should not be used, that is not the standard of proof for a criminal case,” wrote Williams. “Most of the cheerleading squad participated in the technique that day, and there are differing accounts of the circumstances.”

In an interview with 9 News, Mr. Williams made an attempt to defend his actions in the video. “I would never have put any of my kids in any harmful situation or hurt them at any point," said the ex-coach.

However, Ms. McCann’s decision has been met with a general sense of frustration from the local community. Qusair Mohamedbhai, a lawyer working for the families of two of the cheerleaders in the video, has also responded to McCann’s statement.

A small part of the statement reads: “The families are determined to ensure no other student athletes are subjected to any form of abuse at the hands of adults entrusted with their care.”

According to the Daily Mail, Mr. Williams has also been accused of bullying and humiliating the teenage girls before, during and after practice. Unsurprisingly, online commenters are shocked and deeply angered by the government’s lack of accountability.

One user, owlwho26, was convinced that the failure to charge Williams was a sign of a flaw in our society, writing: “Why is protecting our children not coming first anymore?”

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: CBS 4, CBS News, YouTube

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