A youth football coach in Georgia who was caught on camera striking a member of the team is facing criminal charges.
Video of the incident, which occurred Monday at the 2020 American Youth Football National Championships AA Div 1-7U tournament in Kissimmee, Florida, shows Savannah Gators coach Gerrell Williams slapping the child in the helmet. After yelling at his player, Williams struck him a second time with enough force that the child lost his balance and fell to the ground.
According to the incident report, the child’s mother declined to press 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,” Maj. Jacob Ruizsaid said in a statement Friday. “The actions of this person are despicable and there is zero tolerance when it comes to the abuse of a child.”
Williams was banned from the league following the incident and also fired from his job as a counselor in the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office’s detention center.
According to the Savannah Morning News, Williams issued a public apology on a Facebook Live video, saying “I am going to apologize for my actions about what took place but at the end of the day, I am not going to make any excuses for it, I did it.”