FISHERS, Ind. — A Wisconsin girls basketball coach has been charged with battery after witnesses said he punched one of his teenage players in the face and threw her to the ground after a loss, police said Tuesday.
Fred Freeman, 47, of Hartford, Wis., faces the misdemeanor charge after the Monday incident, which involved a 17-year-old player from his traveling youth basketball team, at the Indiana Fieldhouse Sports Complex near Indianapolis.
“The victim told officers her basketball coach was verbally abusing her after the team lost their game,” Fishers police spokesman Officer Tom Weger said. “She reported that during a verbal altercation he punched her in the face, threw her to the ground and got on top of her with his hands around her throat.”
The girl, a Milwaukee resident, suffered scrapes and scratches to her arms and legs.
When officers arrested Freeman afterward at a restaurant, he admitted to restraining the girl but claimed to have been the victim, Weger said. However, the parent of another player told officers she saw Freeman striking the victim.
A police report says Freeman’s daughter also was present and pleaded with him to stop the attack, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Jean Washington, the parent of a player from another team, told officers Freeman “grabbed the victim tightly around her torso” and Washington heard the victim “tell the suspect to get off of her,” the police report said.
“The two fell to the ground, and the victim continued to resist the suspect. The suspect and victim made it back to their feet, and the suspect grabbed the victim again and slammed her back into the ground,” the report said.
Freeman’s daughter then spoke up.
“Ms. Washington observed the suspect’s daughter yelling, ‘No, Daddy.’ The suspect then got up and threw the victim’s badge into (a) tree,” the report said.
Washington then escorted the victim back inside the building while Freeman left with other team members, it said.
Freeman was due to be released on his own recognizance from the Hamilton County Jail on Tuesday. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney. A residential phone listed in his name was disconnected.