by: Mike Morris Updated:
The Warren County High School head football coach badly hurt in a fight following his team’s 2011 win at rival Hancock Central High School has filed a federal lawsuit against the Hancock County School District, three off-duty Hancock County sheriff’s deputies who had been hired to provide security at the stadium and the Hancock player he says hit him in the face with a helmet.
After the Oct. 14, 2011, game, which Warren County won 21-2, the Warren players were locked out of the visiting locker room, and a group of more than 30 Hancock players attacked the Warren players, Warren County Superintendent Dr. Jean Carey said at the time.
“Our players had nowhere to go, and felt like they had to defend themselves,” Carey said.
Warren County Head Coach David Daniel tried to intervene and was “smashed in the face with a helmet,” Carey said. Daniel was hospitalized with head injuries and underwent reconstructive surgery to his face, including procedures to repair crushed bones above and below his eye.
In the U.S. District Court suit, filed this week in Macon, Daniel claims that three Hancock deputies, who were all in uniform, pepper-sprayed the Warren students while they were being attacked.
According to the suit, Daniel Spence was one of the Warren County players pepper-sprayed by the deputies.
“Upon being pepper-sprayed, Mr. Spence fell to the ground. While Mr. Spence was on the ground, defendant Kendrez Mayweather purposely and intentionally struck Mr. Spence on the back of his head with a football helmet,” the suit claims.
According to the suit, Mayweather then pulled his helmet back to strike Spence again, and the coach got in front of him and yelled, “What are you doing?”
“Upon Mr. Daniel doing so, Kendrez Mayweather purposefully and intentionally struck Mr. Daniel in the face and head with the helmet.”
The suit claims that Daniel’s injuries “are permanent…and have permanently impaired Daniel’s ability to perform many major life activities including work.”
The suit also claims that the Hancock school system failed to provide adequately trained security for the game, “consistent with its practice and custom,” and asks for unspecified damages from the defendants for medical expenses, lost wages and physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering. It also requests punitive damages from Mayweather.
Hancock and Warren counties are adjacent to one another, about 100 miles east of Atlanta, south of I-20.