DENVER (CBS4)– Police in Denver believe they have arrested the suspects wanted for assaulting a student from South High School on an RTD bus.
Police say the men, identified as Will Kee and Dericon Steel, assaulted the victim on an RTD bus on Aug. 23 about 3 p.m. when the bus was in the 1500 block of E. Louisiana Avenue.
Kee, 38, is being held for investigation of harassment and Steel is being held for investigation of third-degree assault and child abuse.
The victim is a student at South High School. Witnesses told police they thought the assault was racially-motivated but police determined the incident was not.
According to the affidavit, the Hispanic man walked up to the victim and said something but the victim could not hear what was said due to the noise of the crowded bus. Later, the other suspect, described in the affidavit as a white man, walked up to the victim and told him he needed to “shut the (expletive) up.”
The victim then told police the man grabbed his hair and pulled him down to the ground. He said he struck his head one or two times but couldn’t remember if he struck the seats or something else.
That’s when the victim said the Hispanic man attempted to kick him and that’s when the victim grabbed the man’s shirt to avoid being kicked.
A bunch of people on the bus started yelling and that’s when the bus stopped. Both men jumped out the back doors of the bus
DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg says that the district was “wrong not to have acted in June” when some East High School employees learned of forced splits.
The coach, Ozell Williams, and four other school employees were placed on leave while the Denver Public School District conducts as investigation alongside Denver police.
On Friday evening during a news conference, Boasberg said that Williams was no longer with DPS.
He also provided a timeline about what happened after it was reported. He said in mid-June a parent contacted the athletic the athletic director about what had happened at a cheer camp and included video of the incident. The next day the principal, assistant principal and athletic director met with the parent and her daughter.
“At that meeting the school leadership believed they had addressed the parent’s and student’s concerns. It’s now clear they had not,” said Boasberg.
Williams worked in multiple gyms throughout the Denver metro area. Most recently, he worked at Reunion Recreation Center, as a tumbling coach for children.
Rec center management said that as of Thursday, Williams is no longer employed there.
There is no brick and mortar building for the business, Mile High Tumblers 5280, run by Williams, parents said. His website advertises Williams as a power-tumbling expert.
Industry professionals told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia that the technique Williams was seen using in the video is known as “power stretching.”
East High freshman Ally Wakefield, 13, cried out in pain and said “stop” over and over but Williams could be seen continuing to force her down in the extended splits position while others held her in place.
“She’s torn her muscle tissues, her ligaments, and pulled a hamstring,” said Ally’s mother Kirsten Wakefield, of her daughter’s injuries.
Kirsten met with police as child abuse investigators worked the case.
“My daughter told me the coach told all of the girls, ‘Do not share this video with anyone. Keep this video just between us,'” Kirsten said.
Boasberg said the district has hired a law firm to perform an independent investigation to find out who knew what and when. He said until that investigation is over, the five East High employees who have been placed on leave, including the principal and athletic director, won’t be back at school.
“What happened was wrong. Under no circumstances should a young person be in a situation where they’re suffering physical or emotional harm,” said Boasberg.
Boasberg also said that East High School counselors worked with cheerleaders Friday morning to address their concerns.
DENVER (AP) — Denver police are investigating a report that a high school student was subjected to racial slurs and physically assaulted on a mass-transit bus.
Denver Public Schools said Friday the student was black and the alleged attacker was an older white man, and that the assault appeared to be racially motivated.
Police spokesman John White said he couldn’t confirm whether race was a factor. He said officers are looking for witnesses and reviewing video from a camera on the bus.
The school district says in a written report the incident occurred Wednesday.
The district says witnesses reported the man singled out the student because of the student’s race. The district says other passengers intervened and the man got off the bus.
The statement says the student returned to school the next day.
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
DENVER (CBS4)– Videos showing East High School cheerleaders forced into the splits are now at the center of a police investigation.
Eight different girls– all of them seen in video crying out in agony and repeatedly asking their coach to stop.
Thirteen-year-old Ally Wakefield is one of them, “I was just kind of thinking it was normal. Like i did not think much of it…”He told us it was normal.”
The video shot during a camp in June shows the coach, Ozell Williams, pushing the girls into position while teammates held them down.
Ally showed her parents Kirsten and Eric Wakefield, not knowing that what it showed could be criminal.
“When she got me in the car and told me about it I said, ‘What? That sounds crazy’ and she said, ‘Well, I have the video, I’ll show you,’” said Kirsten Wakefield.
She said she almost crashed her car after seeing those videos.
She immediately went to school officials, expecting something would be done. Now, months later and only after someone leaked those videos, are Denver police getting involved.
“I feel vindicated because we’ve been trying since the beginning of June just to get someone to hear us and be an advocate for our girls,” Kirsten Wakefield said.
DPS has now put five school administrators on leave, including coach Ozell Williams, along with East High’s principal, assistant principal, assistant cheer coach, and general counsel.
The Wakefields say they just want to make sure Williams cannot hurt anyone else.
“Some of the people were scared and they didn’t feel like they had a voice and so I just wanted to be their voice,” Ally Wakefield said.
Police are investigating this case as possible child abuse.
DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg released the following update on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, regarding allegations involving East High School: “First, I want to thank our community for your concern for the safety and well-being of our students. Please know we are supporting the Denver Police in the investigation of these allegations and we are doing all that we can to support our students and families at East and throughout the district.
We have sent notification to our athletic directors emphasizing that DPS does not allow the use of “forced splits” or any other activity that puts a student’s physical or mental health at risk, or in which a student is forced to perform an exercise beyond the point at which they express their desire to stop. I want to reiterate that this applies not just to athletics, but throughout our school communities.
This morning, counselors at East, with our district support team, worked with all the members of the cheer team — to bring them together as team, to address the students’ concerns, and to emphasize our commitment to their safety and well-being. Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova and I also personally called the parents of every member of the East cheer team to offer support and answer their questions.
We know how deeply concerned our community is about the events that took place. We are reviewing the supports and resources currently in place for both students and educators, and we will propose additional efforts to ensure our school communities are educated about, and empowered to prevent, traumatic situations such as those depicted in the videos of East cheer practice.
We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all our students, at East High School and throughout Denver Public Schools. We will provide additional information when we can.”
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.