FISHERS, Ind. – An Indiana prosecutor said Thursday that criminal charges won't be pursued against a Wisconsin girls basketball coach who was arrested after one of his teenage players told police he attacked her after a loss.
Fred Freeman, 47, of Hartford, Wis., had been jailed on a preliminary misdemeanor battery charge after the Monday scuffle, which involved a 17-year-old player from a traveling youth basketball team, at a sports complex in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers.
Hamilton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Wehmueller said the decision not to file charges against Freeman came after investigators talked with more witnesses.
"We had some independent witnesses who saw that this coach was breaking up a fight between two of the girls on the team," Wehmueller told The Associated Press.
Freeman told a Milwaukee television station that he did nothing wrong and was trying to break up a fight between his daughter and another player.
"She just started walking on the court, throwing a tantrum, cussing," Freeman told WITI-TV. "I kicked this kid off my team four or five weeks ago for the exact same kind of issues."
Fishers police reported that the player told officers that Freeman verbally abused the girl after the game, then punched her in the face, threw her to the ground, got on top of her and put his hands around her throat. The girl, a Milwaukee resident, suffered scrapes and scratches to her arms and legs, police said.
Freeman said he was holding the player from behind when the two fell to the ground.
"I'm scratched — my knees, my forehead, my nose — I'm all scratched up," he said.
He said he's worried his reputation will never be the same because of his arrest.
"I'm not going to let one bad apple stop me from what I'm doing for these kids," Freeman said.