A Wisconsin high school girls basketball coach has been arrested and charged with assault and battery after a disturbing incident in which he allegedly punched one of his own players despite his own daughter's attempted intervention.
As reported by the Indianapolis Star and the Associated Press, Fred Freeman was arrested in the town of Fishers, Ind., after a 17-year-old at a basketball tournament in the town reported that Freeman grabbed her, threw her to the ground and punched her. Further investigation by Fishers police determined that the incident began with a verbal spat between Freeman's daughter and the coach's victim, sparking a violent outburst from the 47-year-old.
A nearby parent from another team at the tournament, Jean Washington, witnessed the entire event and offered a statement to police that ran in direct contrast to Freeman's own claims to police that he was initially attacked by the teen. Rather, the basketball mother's statement painted a disturbing picture of the event, which was released in the subsequent police report of the incident.
"The suspect … grabbed the victim tightly around her torso. (Washington) heard the victim tell the suspect to get off of her and witnessed the victim start to punch the suspect," the report states. "The two fell to the ground, and the victim continued to resist the suspect. The suspect and victim made it back to their feet, and the suspect grabbed the victim again and slammed her back into the ground.
"Ms. Washington observed the suspect's daughter yelling, 'No, Daddy.' The suspect then got up and threw the victim's badge into (a) tree,"the report states. "Ms. Washington then escorted the victim back inside the building as the suspect left the area with the other team members."
The unnamed victim is a Milwaukee resident and was brought to the Indiana event by Freeman himself. The coach drove his summer league squad to the high school girls basketball tournament at the Indiana Fieldhouse Sports Complex.
It was not immediately clear how Freeman's team returned to Wisconsin, including his alleged victim, though the coach could have driven them back himself after he was released on his own recognizance after spending a night in the Fishers jail.
While no court date back in Indiana has been scheduled, Freeman's actions clearly cast a pall on the ever-competitive summer basketball circuit. Clearly Freeman stepped beyond his dual parental and coaching duties. Whether he is allowed to continue as a coach is now certainly a viable question for those who had previously entrusted the forty-something Hartford, Wis., resident with their children.