Video captured during a youth basketball game in Garden Grove shows a 15-year-old girl getting punched in the face by a fellow player on Sunday.
The incident took place at an event hosted by Avac United, which organizes games for youth between the ages of 13 to 16 across Southern California.
The victim’s mother, Alice Ham, told KTLA that she knew something was very wrong when her daughter, whose name she did not want shared, returned home after her basketball game, disoriented. Teammates and other parents filled Ham in and showed her the video.
“The person in question went down the court and shot a three pointer, landed, fell backwards into my daughter,” Ham explained. “As they got up and turned and were walking back down to the other side of the court, her mom says to her, ‘You need to hit her for that.’ And the child in question sucker punched my daughter.”
Ham says the audio of the mother telling her child to hit her daughter left her especially disgusted and outraged, and that her daughter was disoriented and not coherent after she was hit.
“To me, it rises to the level of assault, the way that she does it with such intent and brutal force,” Ham said, adding that she has filed a police report.
The family of the other girl has retained an attorney and told KTLA, “It’s a very unfortunate incident involving two young minor girls. We are doing our best to investigate everything and anything that happened. Once we acquire all the necessary information we will make a statement.”
The CEO of Avac United, Gary Thomas, told KTLA that the organization will cooperate if there is an investigation, and that they have banned the girl who punched Ham’s daughter and her mother, until further notice.
“We’re very sorry … we want everybody to feel safe. We want everyone to feel secure,” Thomas said. “This is an environment where kids should have fun and enjoy and be safe.”
Ham says she hopes her daughter will recover from the incident soon.
“I hope there’s no fear for her to play again,” the mom expressed. “I want people to see this is not OK. It is not OK for parents to be verbally abusive, to incite violence.”