Coach who forced cheerleaders into splits will not be charged with a crime

The high school cheerleading coach who forced his students into splits will not be charged with a crime, the Denver prosecutor said.

A number of officials at East High School in Denver came under fire in August when a disturbing video circulated showing cheerleaders repeatedly being pushed into splits.

An incoming high school freshman screamed in pain and asked the coach, Ozell Williams, to “please stop” in one video. Her mother said she suffered injuries to her leg from the forced exercise.

The leaked video caused a public uproar. The school’s principal retired and the athletic director resigned after the video was leaked; Williams was fired.

District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement Saturday that there was not sufficient evidence to warrant any charges after a police investigation.

McCann did say that the coaching technique “has no place in high school cheerleading coaching” but the coach’s “bad judgment” doesn’t constitute a prosecutable crime.

“The individual involved should not be a coach in high school sports, and he no longer is,” she said.


Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg thanked the DA’s office for investigating the case, but asked the media to stop sharing the videos of the controversial cheer practice, the Denver Post reported.

“Our top priority has been, and will continue to be, the safety and well-being of our students,” Boasberg said. “In support of this, and to allow our students to continue healing, we would ask news media to refrain from showing videos of the ‘forced splits’ in covering this issue.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.