The leader of an after-school Brooklyn marching band that appeared in an ad for Tommy Hilfiger clothing and performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been charged with assault after police say he duct-taped the mouth of a 9-year-old student.
Kenyatte Hughes was arrested Tuesday after the boy's mother called police. Her son suffered a crack bloody lip, swelling and redness and was afraid of further abuse after the incident Monday at 5 p.m., according to a criminal complaint. He was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
"I put duct tape on the complaining witness' mouth to explain how slavery worked," Hughes said in a statement read by Assistant District Attorney Wilfredo Cotto. "I was going to put it on my own mouth but did not."
Hughes was released following his arraignment Wednesday in Brooklyn Criminal Court.
Hughes has led the Soul Tigers Marching band based at Intermediate School 292 for more than a decade. The program was created "to offer not just music education and the arts, but the development of integrity, honorable personal conduct and patience and respect for others, for some of New York's most underserved youth populations," according to its website.
The school is located in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Hughes did not immediately return a call left at the band's phone number; it wasn't clear who was representing him in court and a listed number rang unanswered Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the city department of education described Hughes as a volunteer and said he won't be allowed at any of the schools any more.
"These charges are deeply troubling," said Devora Kaye.
The marching band has also traveled to Africa and Central America to perform.