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Former middle school coach charged with battery

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The former Mesa Middle School assistant football coach who says he lost his coaching job after a fight with the head coach has been charged in Roswell Municipal Court in the aftermath of the altercation.

A summons was issued Wednesday to former assistant coach Thomas K. Davis on charges of battery and disorderly conduct for his alleged actions during the Sept. 5 fight at Mesa Middle School with the school’s head football coach, Gabriel Flores-Delara, who is also a teacher at Mesa Middle School.

Jeff Tucker Photo Former Mesa Middle School assistant football coach Thomas Davis, shown here speaking at last week’s Roswell school board meeting, was charged Wednesday with battery and disorderly conduct for his alleged actions during a fight with another coach earlier this month. Davis told the school board the use of racial slurs by students on school grounds is out of control.

 

Davis, an African-American, says the fight was sparked by the repeated use of the N-word by the football team’s players. His initial hearing in municipal court is set for Oct. 12.

Davis told the Daily Record Wednesday afternoon he plans to contest the charges.

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“I’m going to seek legal advice, I’m going to hire me an attorney,” Davis said. “I’m not going to admit that I did something that I didn’t do. That was an altercation between people. When you’re in an altercation, aren’t two people supposed to be reprimanded?”

Davis admits to throwing about 15 punches in the fight that took place behind the middle school after a night game at DeBremond Stadium against Berrendo Middle School. Davis said he threw the first punch, after he says he was head-butted by Flores-Delara. Davis said he is not a troublemaker, that he just spoke up about the use of the N-word by students, particularly a slang variation of the slur that Davis says has become widely used by today’s students.

Davis said the charges of battery and disorderly conduct are a form of retaliation for speaking up about the everyday, casual use of the racial slur, and lack of consequences for students who say it on school grounds.

“‘Since you want to tell the truth and bring the dark to light, take that’ — That’s what they’re telling me,” Davis said. “That’s a way of trying to ruin my reputation. My character is not in question here. The big issue is that N-word. I hear it every day. I don’t condone it and they don’t give a damn.”

911 call

While the scuffle was still underway, Flores-Delara called 911 at about 8:45 p.m. Sept. 5, asking for help, stating Davis was chasing him.

“I had a guy attack me. He punched me several times,” said Flores-Delara in a recording of the 911 call obtained by the Daily Record Wednesday after a public records request.

Flores-Delara, 28, reported he and Davis, 50 had been involved in an altercation. In the initial moments of the call, Davis can be heard yelling in the background.

“I was just trying to talk to him, and just he starts punching, and I just held onto him,” Flores-Delara said. “I tried to talk to him, and he just ended up punching me a few times, in front of all the kids. Can I get someone out here? He’s still wanting to fight.”

Asked about prior issues by the dispatcher, Flores-Delara said he had had no problems with Davis previously.

“He’s been a standup guy up to this point,” Flores-Delara said. “But I just want it to be known that I was talking to him, and trying to resolve something, a student had made a racist comment. He said a kid had made a racist comment toward him, so he said ‘I can beat your (butt),’ and then he just hit me. And so I just restrained him. I did not hit him, I just restrained him.

“He’s a strong man, and he started wailing on me. He wants to fight me and everybody else. He hit me about three or four times and I just restrained him.”

Flores-Delara has declined to comment about the altercation to the newspaper.

Student suspension

According to a 15-page police report also obtained by the Daily Record Wednesday, a Mesa Middle School student who made a racial slur was suspended from the school. Mesa Middle School school resource officer Laura Macias of the Roswell Police Department reported she had learned the student had been suspended for disorderly conduct, language profanity and misuse, and for using racial slurs.

“I learned the student was placed on a behavioral contract and the incident was documented on a discipline referral,” Macias wrote. “I learned contact was made with the parents of the student and the severity and consequences were explained to the parents. I learned the parent stated that as far as she had knowledge, her child did not mean the word in an offensive way. Mr. (Art) Sandoval stated that regardless, it was a very offensive word and that he has zero tolerance for any racial slurs, and he was not going to let that happen here at his school.”

The police report also reveals that Flores-Delara submitted a notice of assault by Davis to school administration, in which Flores-Delara said he had suffered strikes to his head.

Coach reports

In the report compiled by Macias, Macias said she interviewed Davis, Flores-Delara, Mesa Middle School assistant football coach Kevin Fresquez, Mesa Middle School assistant principal Art Sandoval, and had obtained several written reports from Mesa Middle School football players.

Davis, Flores-Delara and Fresquez all emailed Sandoval the morning after the fight, according to Macias’ report.

In Flores-Delara’s email, he said Davis yelled at a 12-year-old player irately, bringing the student to tears. Flores-Delara said Davis “displayed explosive behavior,” “cussing fervently around all the players.”

Flores-Delara said Davis was getting out of control, so he asked to speak with him outside.

“Coach Flores stated that coach Davis also claimed that coach Flores made a comment at practice about the other teams beating on their chest like monkeys, which he took as a racist statement,” Macias wrote in her report. “Coach Flores stated that coach Davis continued to tell him that he wasn’t going to let anyone talk to him like that player did and that ‘I don’t care if his mom’s around.'”

Flores-Delara said in the email that Davis’ claims that he has allowed racist comments from his players “is absolutely false.”

Davis also emailed Sandoval the morning after the fight.

“Good morning, last night’s disaster was very unprofessional on both sides,” Davis wrote. “I accept any consequences for my actions. I should have handled it better being the senior coach. I also have to say that (the N-word) is used often and frequently with no repercussions. I have the utmost respect for coach Flores, but as far as stopping the use of the (N-word) with no discipline, I have zero respect for the enforcement of not using the word. This is not a black, white or brown issue. This is a right and wrong issue. It really needs to be addressed and soon.”

Fresquez said in his email that Davis was upset about a player using the N-word. Fresquez said a player admitted to Flores-Delara that the student had used the N-word.

Fresquez said he did not witness any punches thrown, and he did not see who started the fight.

“I simply split them apart and told them this cannot happen around our players,” Fresquez wrote. “After I split them up, words were exchanged between the two and nothing physical (happened) after I split them apart.”

Davis interviews

Macias said when she spoke with Davis, Davis said he had been provoked.

“Mr. Davis stated that Mr. Flores provoked him as he instigated the fight,” Macias wrote. “Mr. Davis stated Mr. Flores got real close to his face. He advised they could have bumped heads, that’s how close he got to his face.”

Davis told the newspaper Wednesday he maintains that Flores-Delara head-butted him, and that Flores-Delara also threw punches.

“He did throw punches,” Davis said. “Yes, I do maintain that.”

Davis also told police he had been injured in the fight, particularly to his chest when he had been pinned to a rail by Flores-Delara.

“I’m no fighter. I’m an easy-going guy,” Macias reported Davis stating to her. “Mr. Davis stated Mr. Flores did not sustain any injuries during the altercation. He advised Mr. Flores already had a scratch above his eye and on his head before the game started.”

Macias reported that Davis voluntarily quit his coaching job.

“Mr. Davis stated that he will no longer be coaching at Mesa Middle School,” Macias reported. “He advised he gave Mr. (Brian) Byrd, RISD human resources, the key this morning and told him he did not want no part of it.”

Davis told the newspaper Wednesday he did not quit his job, but instead was told by Byrd he could continue coaching, just not at Mesa Middle School. Flores-Delara remains the head football coach at Mesa Middle School.

Davis, a substitute teacher throughout RISD, said he took a leave of absence on Sept. 7 “because I didn’t want to be distraction.” Davis said he returned to work Monday, substitute teaching five days a week at the high schools.

Davis appealed to the Roswell school board Sept. 12 to address racial insensitivity in the schools.

Student reports

Several students submitted reports to school officials about the fight between the two coaches.

Macias said one student, who said he witnessed the fight, told her that Davis wanted a player kicked off the middle school football team for saying the N-word.

“(The student) stated coach Davis then swung at coach Flores,” Macias reported. “(The student) stated that coach Flores held coach Davis from the waist to stop him from hitting him. (The student) stated that he went to get coach Fresquez to come and stop the fight.

“(The student) stated coach Davis punched coach Flores three times on the face. (The student) stated coach Flores did not hit coach Davis, that he held him by the waist to stop him from punching him.”

Another student also stated he witnessed Davis hitting Flores-Delara, and did not see Flores-Delara striking Davis.

Another student said in his statement to school officials that Davis has repeatedly warned them about using the N-word.

“(The student) stated that coach Davis has told them a hundred times, before practice, at practice, after practice, not to say the N-word,” Macias wrote. “(The student) stated that out on the field, the N-word is not really used. He advised that nowadays, a friend calls his friends that, but coach Davis is already tired of hearing that everywhere.”