SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Georgia sheriff’s office employee and youth football coach is facing charges after a viral video showed him knocking a young player to the ground during a game.
The video was shot at the American Youth Football Championships in Kissimmee, Florida, this week. The incident happened Monday during a AA Div 1-7U tournament, which includes players 7 years old and younger.
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Footage from the field shows the coach strike a young player’s helmet before he yanks the helmet and knocks the child to the ground.
The video has been shared nearly two million times and has parents outraged.
The coach has since been identified as Gerrel Williams, who coaches the Savannah Gators and works as a detention counselor for the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.
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Osceola County police in Florida said they were alerted to video of child abuse from a person in Maryland. Officer Doug Ford reviewed the video.
“I observed the coach slap the player’s helmet with enough force to shift his balance,” an officer wrote in the incident report. “After a few moments, the coach hit the player again in the helmet, knocking him to the ground. After the second hit, the coach was screaming in the player’s face.”
Ford said he contacted the head of the American Youth Football National Championships and identified Williams as the coach. Officials said Williams had been expelled from the league and is no longer allowed to attend games.
Ford contacted the victim’s mother in Savannah. She said she did not want to press charges.
Ford notified the Department of Children and Family services.
Authorities in Florida told our sister station in Savannah, WJCL, that they plan to file child abuse charges against Williams.
“The Osceola County Sheriff’s office along with our local state attorney’s office have reviewed this case and the decision has been made that charges for child abuse will be filed, regardless of parent’s decision not to press charges,” the Osceola Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Williams no longer works for the Chatham County Sheriff’s office as of Thursday, according to a Facebook post.
“CCSO reviewed the video and we are very disturbed by the actions of Mr. Gerrel Williams,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office does not condone this behavior. As of Dec. 10, 2020, he is no longer an employee of the CCSO.”
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