Fifteen-year-old beat up during basketball game

Writer: Sommer Senne
Published: Updated:

A pick-up game of basketball turned into a physical beating for fifteen-year-old Jeremiah Ward.

“I’m having headaches and some nightmares now,” he said. “I’m just now getting out of the house and just starting to go back to school.”

The fight happened on May 5 at Desoto County High School‘s open gym.

When the basketball game ended, Jeremiah extended his hand to Keyshawn Smith in a show of good sportsmanship.

In videos provided to WINK News, 26-year-old Smith can be seen batting Jeremiah’s hand away. Then, Jeremiah taps Smith’s head. Smith chased Jeremiah toward the bleachers, shoving him down.

According to the arrest report and the video, Smith put Jeremiah into a headlock and hit him with a closed fist.

“He had pushed me, and I thought he was going to stop chasing me when I went to the bleachers,” said Jeremiah. “Then he pushed me, and he started punching me. That’s when everybody came over, and they got him off me.”

“His peers had to come get him [Smith] off of him [Jeremiah],” said William Ward, Jeremiah’s dad. “Who knows if no one was there, or they didn’t react to it that fast.”

Other players ran over and broke up the fight while Jeremiah’s coach didn’t react.

For Jeremiah’s dad, William, and mom, Aretha Christian, that’s not good enough.

“This is somebody’s son,” Christian said. “They should make sure he’s okay. He’s bleeding all over the bleachers. He’s sitting there holding his head for minutes.”

Jeremiah’s eyebrow was split open, and he had scrapes and bruises on his knee and ankle.

While Jeremiah’s physical injuries are healing, he’s scared to leave his house.

“I feel like he’s gonna retaliate and try to come get me,” Jeremiah said.

Jeremiah considers Smith a mentor and has known him since seventh grade.

They play basketball together all the time, which is why this beatdown was even more personal.

“I just want accountability,” William said. “That’s what I want.”

Smith was arrested and charged with battery but has bonded out of jail.

His arraignment will be June 10th at 8:30 a.m.

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