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Mom who told daughter to hit opponent during basketball game is ordered to pay $9,000 and apologize

Latira Shonty Hunt shouted from the stands, "You better hit her for that," directing her child to attack a rival during a youth game, prosecutors said.

A California woman who shouted from the stands for her daughter to hit an opponent last year during a basketball game, an attack that was widely viewed on social media, was ordered Wednesday to write an apology and pay more than $9,000 in restitution, prosecutors said.

Latira Shonty Hunt, 44, of La Puente, was charged in December with one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one misdemeanor count of battery, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The “unprovoked attack” occurred during a youth basketball game Hunt’s daughter was playing in on Nov. 7 at the MAPS sports facility in Garden Grove, prosecutors said.

Hunt yelled "you better hit her for that” to her daughter after she had an interaction with a rival player on the court. Seconds later, the rival player fell to the court,” prosecutors said.

A county superior court judge on Wednesday granted Hunt misdemeanor diversion in exchange for completing a series of requirements over the next two years, including writing an apology to the victim, her parents and both basketball teams, prosecutors said.

Latira Shonty Hunt was in the stands of a game in Garden Grove on Nov. 7, 2021, and after her daughter had an on-court interaction with an opposing player, Hunt allegedly yelled, “You better hit her for that."
Latira Shonty Hunt was in the stands of a game in Garden Grove on Nov. 7, 2021, and after her daughter had an on-court interaction with an opposing player, Hunt allegedly yelled, “You better hit her for that."via KNBC

She was also ordered to pay more than $9,000 in restitution and complete anger management classes before she can attend basketball games again, prosecutors said. Hunt was also ordered to stay away from the victim, according to the district attorney’s office.

Hunt could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday. It was unclear if she was represented by an attorney.

The game last year was between the SoCal Blaze and Dream Academy. In a video of the incident that went viral, a 14-year-old player from Dream Academy can be seen missing a 3-point shot, NBC Los Angeles reported.

Immediately afterward, the Dream Academy player can be seen falling to the floor. A player beside her — identified to NBC Los Angeles by her mother, Alice Ham, as Lauryn Ham, 15 — also falls.

After she gets back up, the Dream Academy player can be seen lunging toward Lauryn and striking her in the head. She immediately crumples to the floor.

Lauryn was diagnosed with a concussion after the game, Alice Ham told NBC Los Angeles.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the statement that Hunt was responsible for injuring the teenager.

“Youth sports play a crucial role in developing discipline, teamwork and fair play. A grown adult directing a child to use violence against another child on the basketball court is reprehensible,” Spitzer said. “By instructing her own daughter to engage in violence, she is not only responsible for injuring an innocent child as if she punched her with her own fist, but she transformed her own child into someone who is willing to hurt another child.”

In the days after the game, the father of the Dream Academy player, Corey Benjamin, 44, a former first-round draft pick for the Chicago Bulls who played for the team from 1998 to 2003, apologized for his daughter. He told NBC Los Angeles in a statement that he was “shocked and disappointed” by her behavior.

“This is not a reflection of the values and standards that my family holds,” he said. “Nor does it exemplify the values, character and spirit of sportsmanship that the game of basketball requires. My daughter made a mistake. One that she will need to make right. I am committed to getting my daughter any help she may need and support her in taking accountability for her conduct.”