An unsettling videos of cheerleaders being forced into splits by their fellow teammates has sparked a police investigation in Denver.
An incoming freshman, Ally Wakefield, is seen in the video below being held down by a group of girls while the coach, Ozell Williams, holds the girl’s shoulders and pushes her down further. The rest of the team is seen casually chatting in the background while the girl repeatedly screams “no” and “please stop!” through tears. The group finally lets up and the teen is thrown roughly to the side.
9Wants to Know reported that eight cheerleaders altogether were forced to endure the painful hazing. The news station was sent several videos from anonymous East High School cheerleaders.
Multiple staff and administration at the school – Principal Andy Mendelsberg, Assistant Principal Lisa Porter, Cheer Coach Ozell Williams, Assistant Cheer Coach Mariah Cladis and DPS Deputy General Counsel Michael Hickman – have all been placed on leave as Denver police investigate the disturbing affair. This was the first year Williams coached for the high school.
Parents have reportedly sent several complaints school administrators for month. Ally’s mother, Kirsten Wakefield, sent an email on June 15 to East High School Athletic Director Lisa Porter, with the video attached. She told Porter in the email that Ally’s leg was injured during this incident, but the investigation didn’t launch until August 23.
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg issued a statement, calling the video “extremely distressing.”
“We absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students’ physical and mental health in jeopardy,” Boasberg said. “We do not and will not allow any situation in which a student is forced to perform an activity or exercise beyond the point at which they express their desire to stop.”
The investigation is ongoing. Check back with CrimeOnline as the story develops.
[Feature Photo: Screenshot/OK News 4]