Ozell Williams, the Denver cheerleading coach involved in a series of disturbing videos showing East High School cheerleaders being forced into painful splits, was fired.
Williams’ termination was announced in a statement from Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg:
Having now worked closely with police over the last two days and looked closely at the evidence that has been gathered, we have made the decision today to terminate the employment of the coach of the cheer squad, Mr. Ozell Williams. He is no longer an employee of the Denver Public Schools. We have also made the decision to employ an outside law firm – Davis, Graham & Stubbs – to perform an independent investigation of exactly who knew what when, both at the school and at the district level, with regard to the practice of forced splits on the cheer team, the safety of the students and the concerns of the parents.
“We will ensure the investigation is conducted thoroughly and fairly, and we pledge to make the results of the investigation public,” Boasberg said after announcing that an outside law firm would be in charge of the investigation.
The initial videos show several young girls being forced into splits while screaming out in pain and asking their peers to stop. The videos were shot on cell phones by two members of the team and sent anonymously to the news.
Two coaches, two school principals and the DPS deputy general counsel were placed on leave as a result.
Williams claimed the video was taken out of context.
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