Days after officials in Canton, Mich., announced that a 10-year-old black boy would be facing aggravated assault for the dodgeball injuries of a white boy — prompting critics to say it was racist — Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has announced that the charges have been dropped.
“This case came to us as a not-In-custody case — that means that there was never an arrest. Efforts were made to resolve this matter before it was sent to us for a charge consideration. The mother of the alleged victim had every right to go to the authorities and the authorities had an obligation to investigate,” Worthy said in a statement, according to WXYZ Detroit. “When this case was reviewed by my office, no one paid attention to the race of either party. It is categorically wrong to suggest that this was charged based on race or geography.”
The decision to dismiss the case came just hours before defense lawyer and ex-prosecutor, Maurice Davis of Davis Law Group, who is representing 10-year-old Bryce Lindley, planned to hold a press conference defending him. Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle shortly after the dismissal, Davis says it was “no coincidence” that the prosecutor dropped the charges just hours before his scheduled press conference.
“They knew they were completely wrong,” he continues, “but had [Bryce] not received the media attention that he did, he would be in court tomorrow at 9AM as scheduled.” Davis is calling for Worthy’s office to “reevaluate” their method of authorizing charges. He says, “it is an abuse of power to charge a 10-year-old with aggravated assault over an accident at a playground.”
In an earlier statement sent to Yahoo Lifestyle, Davis had called for the dismissal of what he deemed “outlandish” charges.
“You cannot criminally charge a child for participating in a dodgeball game at a school. If the school intends to hold this child criminally liable for a dodgeball game, then the prosecutors need to bring charges against all of the teachers and school employees that initiated the game, allowed the children to participate in the game, and supervised them during the game,” he wrote. “These charges are ridiculous.”
Also in the statement was a quote from Bryce’s mother, Cameishi. “My son is not a criminal… If every child that played a game of dodgeball and threw a dodgeball at another kid was thrown in jail, the vast majority of our country would be behind bars,” she said. “The only thing my son is guilty of is being a Black boy.”
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle on Tuesday, Davis explained that an aggravated assault charge would have implied that it was Bryce’s intent to injure his classmate. He added that he was “surprised” by the prosecutor's office for authorizing such an “unbelievable” charge — especially, he said, because Worthy is a black woman.
On Monday, Yahoo Lifestyle spoke with the assistant prosecuting attorney on the case, Maria Miller, who at the time defended the charge. Miller said she had reviewed the case and found there “was enough evidence to for us to charge aggravated assault.”
Davis explained that the children were playing a modified version of dodgeball that required players to stand in a circle, jump up and then toss the ball, with the receiver jumping up to catch it. He noted that the children were given two recesses a day, and that the school was aware of the victim’s condition, adding, “There's no reason why this baby is facing criminal charges.”
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