Four New Jersey high school basketball players accused of assaulting a coach after an away game have been suspended and will face criminal charges, authorities said Thursday.
Newark police were called to Malcolm X. Shabazz High School on Tuesday night after the junior varsity team returned from a game in Livingston, according to a statement from the Newark Department of Public Safety. A school administrator showed police a social media post depicting a school employee getting assaulted by four players after they exited a bus at the school.
The victim, who NBC New York reported is an assistant coach, declined medical attention, according to the city's public safety department. The video showed the coach getting kicked and punched by his team members for about half a minute.
The students have been suspended, and Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said that "those found to have participated in this senseless act of violence will face criminal charges." The incident is being investigated as an aggravated assault.
The four students are not being identified because they are likely minors.
“Our detectives are investigating this incident to identify and to appropriately charge those individuals involved,” Ambrose said. “Those found to have participated in this senseless act of violence will face criminal charges.”
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said he had spoken with the school's superintendent, principal, coaches and team.
“The actions of these students will not be tolerated and they don’t represent the majority of the school. The school and team have many great kids, who go on to college and do great things, and we’re proud of them. We support the superintendent and principal and will do whatever we can to make the rest of the year successful,” Baraka said.
Student Nashawn Holmes told NBC New York that the negative attention on the school was "embarrassing" and overshadows “better things, like our community.”
Malcolm X. Shabazz high school lost Tuesday's game to Livingston by 58-51, according to NJ.com.