In a previous post on our website, we reported on the injuries sustained by 14-year-old Rodney Kim Jr, a freshman at Davidson High School in Mobile, AL. In that post we noted that Rodney's parents, Rodney Senior and Mary Kim, stated that they had received private communications from other student-athletes, former employees at Davidson High, and a "whistleblower" connected to Davidson High School, stating that the "beatdown" endured by young Rodney was not an isolated incident but it was just the latest in a string of similar beatings.
Note: You can view a cellphone video of the attack here.
Since our first post, there have been several developments in this incident.
By May 30th, three men who had participated in Kim's beating as Davidson High School students had been arrested on third-degree assault charges. Ellis Wright and LaQuinton William Jr., both 18, were arrested on third-degree assault charges. The teens are being charged as adults. The third student, 18-year-old Alex Sullivan, turned himself in at Mobile County's Metro jail facility on Wednesday, May 30th. All three will be tried as adults and, if convicted of assault in the third degree, face a sentence of up to one (1) year confinement and a fine up to $6,000.00.
On August 2nd, Mobile television station WALA reported that the parents of Jeremiah Chatman (Kennesha and Colby Quinnie) and the mother of Gary Trey Shondetts (Stacy Terry) plan to file $12 million lawsuits against the Mobile County Board of Education, retired Board of Education Superintendent Martha Peek, retired Davidson High School Principal Lewis Copeland, Davidson head football coach Fred Riley and other assistant coaches.
On August 7th, 2018, the Mobile County Public School System placed Davidson head coach Fred Riley on "administrative leave" pending ongoing investigations related to the initial beating incident involving Kim and developments in the three, $12 million, lawsuits filed by the Kim, Chatman, and Shondetts families. According to a source familiar with the case, "administrative leave" is nothing more than a "paid leave of absence."
In Alabama, "hazing" is defined as:
1. Any willful action taken or situation created, whether on or off any school, college, university, or other educational premises, which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of any student, or
2. Any willful act on or off any school, college, university, or other educational premises by any person alone or acting with others in striking, beating, bruising, or maiming; or seriously offering, threatening, or attempting to strike, beat, bruise, or maim, or to do or seriously offer, threaten, or attempt to do physical violence to any student of any such educational institution or any assault upon any such students made for the purpose of committing any of the acts, or producing any of the results to such student as defined in this section … [AL Code § 16-1-23 (2017)]
In addition, Alabama's anti-hazing law makes it a crime for an individual having personal knowledge of a hazing incident not to report such an incident to a state or local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the location where the hazing incident is alleged to have occurred.
Finally, as in every other state, Alabama allows civil lawsuits to be filed against a defendant or defendants regardless of the status of a criminal charge, even if the charges are based on identical facts. In the cases presented here, in the seemingly-unlikely event that the defendants are found not guilty, the civil lawsuits could still proceed. By the same token, if the defendants are found guilty, the civil lawsuits can still be tried.
Contacting a hazing injury lawyer
Hazing at both the high school and college levels is a barbaric practice that, rather than creating a psychological "bond" with one's peers, has all too often led to the tragedies of broken bodies and shattered dreams.
If you, or your child, were injured in a high school or college hazing incident, we invite you to contact the hazing injury lawyer at the Doan Law Firm, a national law practice with offices located in major cities throughout the country.
When you contact the hazing injury lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to arrange a free and confidential review of the facts in your hazing injury case, you first consultation with our firm is always free of charge and does obligate you to hiring our firm as your legal counsel. If you later decide that we should represent you in your hazing injury lawsuit, we are willing to assume all responsibility (including financial) for preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.