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Youth Charged With Assault in Soccer Spat : Crime: The defendant’s attorney says his client was attacked by another player who used racial slurs.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An attorney for a 15-year-old soccer player, who is charged with assaulting a rival player over a racial slur, defended his client’s action Thursday as self-defense.

The incident occurred Sept. 3 at a North Huntington Beach Soccer Club game on a UC Irvine field, attorney Leslie Amponsah said. He claimed that his client, who is black, was physically attacked and was repeatedly called racial epithets by the other player, who is white.

The black teen-ager has been charged by the district attorney’s office with assault with a deadly weapon (hands and feet), a felony, Amponsah said.

June Mitton, an officer of the soccer club, said the youth also has been suspended from playing.

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“You always see fights. But this was a very violent attack,” said Mitton, who has been with the club for 18 years. “Nothing this severe has happened before.”

Mitton said her husband witnessed the 15-year-old punch the other player in the face and then kick him after he fell. The boy suffered a broken nose, she said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Michelle Cipolletti confirmed that Amponsah’s client has been charged, but she would not comment on the details of the case.

Quida Gee, the defendant’s mother, said her son had never been in trouble before and was traumatized by the incident.

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“My son was not the aggressor,” she said at the press conference. “He doesn’t deserve to be called that name.”

She added that this was not the first time her son had been called a racial epithet. Amponsah said the atmosphere of racial sensitivity since the O.J. Simpson trial has triggered the charges.

“I don’t think this case would have been prosecuted 10 years ago,” he said.


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