RAW VIDEO: Leon High Players Won't Be Criminally Charged

By: Jill Chandler, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Jill Chandler, Julie Montanaro Email

Update 9/29/11 5:00pm--

Scroll down to see raw footage of the fight

Leon High School football players will not be facing any criminal charges for a post game fight last week.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office closed the case at five this afternoon and will be releasing copies of the videotape later tonight. We will share that video with you as soon as we can.

The Principal of Leon High School says he is not going to hand down additional punishments to the players involved in a post game fight on Friday night.

Principal Rocky Hanna says the students are already being punished from football and he's not going to suspend them from school.

The FHSAA, suspended ten players from both Leon and Middleburg because of the fight. All 20 players received different levels of suspension depending on their involvement.

Hanna said, "The kids have been punished. The players have been punished. Some of them, it's their senior year, and it's now over. But it send a valuable lesson, We have zero tolerance for violence."

The FHSAA is not releasing any names of the players who are involved due to player privacy.

Hanna says from now on they are going to let the team have time to cool down before they go back on the field to shake hands to avoid another situation like this.

** Note ** New Incident Report Documents Releases; attached above.

Check out the embed below to see footage of the brawl.


UPDATE 9-28-2011

According to Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna: three Leon students have been suspended for one game, four students have been suspended for six weeks and three students have been suspended for the entire year.

Hanna is not releasing the players' names.

10 Middleburg HS football players have been suspended for their roles in Friday night’s brawl at the end of the game with Leon. 2 players were suspended for a year, 5 players got 6-week suspensions, and 3 got a 1-game suspension. The school will not appeal the suspensions handed down by FHSAA.


UPDATED 9.27.11 10:46pm by Jill Chandler

Leon County School Administration says five to six players from both teams are expected to be suspended for the fight.

We will continue to update the story as it progresses. FHSAA is still gathering information about the fight.

FHSAA received the video of the fight Tuesday.


UPDATED 9.27.2011 6:55pm by Julie Montanaro

Florida High School Athletic Association Spokesman Corey Sobers says FHSAA is still gathering information about the fight after the Leon-Middleburg game on Friday.

Sobers says FHSAA was reviewing the tape today and schools have three days to submit information and materials. He says FHSAA could have a decision as early as Friday, but Sobers says there is no firm timetable for that.

Sobers says schools can be fined for unsportsmanlike conduct and there are four levels of sanctions for players and coaches: a one week suspension, a six week suspension, a year's suspension and a career-ending suspension.

Sobers says FHSAA has not yet reviewed all the materials in the Leon-Middleburg fight and has not yet made any determinations about what sanctions are appropriate in this case.

UPDATED 9.27.2011 5:50pm by Julie Montanaro

The Leon County Sheriff's Office has just released a copy of the incident report.

It lists the victim as Middleburg High School Coach Daniel Pearce and describes his head injury as a "severe laceration."

The report classifies the incident as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which is a third degree felony.

All of the witness accounts on the first page are blacked out and the other two pages are not being released.

LCSO has denied our public records request for a copy of the video tape.

UPDATED 9.27.2011 3:30pm by Julie Montanaro

The principal of Leon High School says he was hurt and disappointed by the fight after the Leon-Middleburg game.

Rocky Hanna says he reviewed the tape last night, has forwarded a copy to Middleburg High School and to the Florida High School Athletics Association.

Hanna says FHSAA will be "judge and jury on this one." He says the school will abide by its decisions regarding any player and or team sanctions.

We are trying to reach an FHSAA spokesman to get more information on the potential penalties and a timeline for making a decision about them.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office is still reviewing the tape. We have filed a public records request to try to get a copy of it.
Tallahassee, FL 9-26-11 --

A fight broke out at a local high school football game on Friday night at Leon, and now deputies are investigating.

A criminal investigation is underway after a fight between Leon High School and Middleburg this past Friday.

The Middleburg High School Touchdown Club issued a statement over Facebook saying " no one has seen the video yet, and therefore no determinations have been made. Although we all know that they were the aggressors, we will still have to wait to see what is shown on the video."

Both football teams were back at practice Monday.

Leon County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, James McQuaig said, "We have now forwarded copies of this video to them, so that they can now conduct an administrative review. The purpose of that review would be to decide on athletic eligibility."

That review will also determine disciplinary actions taken against those who are involved.

LCSO says they hope to have the investigation wrapped up as soon as possible.

We do not have video of the actual fight, but according to the Middleburg Facebook page, one of their coaches had to get staples in his head.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Terry Location: Dallas, TX on Nov 6, 2011 at 06:33 PM
    I don't know the details nor do I care. Coach Sauls would never have let this happen. Have we done anything newsworthy on the field since 1993? We're a joke. I'm embarrassed redardless of who instigated the fight. And yes, you other schools in Tally remember your roots.....
  • by Eyewitness Location: Leon on Oct 1, 2011 at 08:50 PM
    Most of the comments posted here are just to incite controversy and give some idiot a cheap laugh. You probabaly just stalk news sights to be obnoxious. Leon High players were NOT the aggressors here, the young men were physically attacked by Middleburg players, parents and fans. At the end Leon was still being followed and taunted while leaving the field Middleburg fans and parents still trying to goad them into more fighting. Most of the comments posted about this incident are by people who need a therapist not access to airing their ignorance.
  • by Frances Location: Tallahassee on Sep 30, 2011 at 03:59 PM
    Yep, you might as well teach them early - if you're a football player in this town you can get away with anything.
    • reply
      by Leon Fan on Sep 30, 2011 at 08:30 PM in reply to Frances
      Do you really believe that these guys, watching their season taken away, are not feeling some sting of punishment?
  • by maurice Location: thomasville on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:13 AM
    WOW, I cant believe the mighty Leon Lions have fallen in statue. As a member of the first Rickards High REDSKINS Football team to defeat this once prestiguos school in 1984, I must say Gene Cox is rolling over in his grave. Leon Lions C'mon Man.. Paulp, Everette Blakely, Clifford Charlton, Holliman, where yall at man..
    • reply
      by Leon Fan on Sep 30, 2011 at 08:24 PM in reply to maurice
      It would appear that this item is extra-newsworthy because of the stature of this school. A previous poster mocked the "prima donna" status of Leon; and I can't say that is a mischaracterization. "Prima Donna" is roughly interpreted as "First Lady" and only becomes an insult in the context of self-certification. Leon High is the Prima Donna by birthright. She is the precedent and standard for this entire state by right of longevity and legacy. As such, Principal Hanna and Mark Feeley are in a unique position of influence to call for rule changes within the FHSAA. 1. Regardless of turf, announcers should not overtly display bias. Cheering and enthusiasm should eminate from the spectators, band and cheerleaders. 2. Pre-recorded music, noise and soundtracks can not be used to disrupt play. 3. Games will conclude with an organized retirement to respective sidelines. 4. Officiating crews should be sensistive to the potential for conflict. 5. The Pressbox/announcers should remain on duty to convey crowd instruction. 6. Venues should be evaluated to facilitate crowd control and safety. As a Leon grad, past-teacher and parent of involved athletes, I don't pretend that all at Leon is perfect, but I can't imagine a better place to institute improvements.
      • reply
        by Leon Fan on Oct 1, 2011 at 07:44 AM in reply to Leon Fan
        PS: My children have graduated and are not currently students at Leon.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 30, 2011 at 09:14 AM
    First, let me say that this is unfortunate for all involved, and as a result, there are so many premature emotion involved from the principal to the ocaches to the students. In retrospect, this games was bad from the start. You have the school principal calling the game in an obviously biased tone, obviously fueling the fire of the visiting team in this close game. There were things going on on the field that were not addressed properly by the referees. When things got out of hand a bad thing happened out on the field, resulting in bad feelings by all. On Monday night the Leon High football parents were subjected to a tongue lashing by Principal Hanna. Yes, he raked upset parents through the coals because of how he felt. I understand he's a 3rd generation alum, has school pride and alums were attending that night, but he is acting irrational now and he nor the head coach are supporting the students they loved last week. Way to show the love Rocky... I think everyone needs to cool off and look at the big picture from start to finish on 9/30. There was more to it that what happened at the end of the game. Ruining kids lives, hurting families and sending mixed messages. What if it were your child?
    • reply
      by Mark on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:09 AM in reply to
      These CHILDREN learned a life lesson (hopefully). No one's life was ruined. These kids are a result of today's world of coddling and allowing them to do what ever the feel like, with no repercussion. They will hopefully think twice before lashing out violently and throwing away future opportunities. Yes, some future plans will change for some of these kids. This experience just might keep them out of our prison system. One hasty but bad decision can alter the rest of your life. I commend Rocky for scolding all involved. He just recently defended the actions of a coach for quelling a physical altercation between two players at practice. Again, video evidence showed what really happened. Leon has deep roots and a rich history and one generation should not ruin it.. It is time to move on and teach sportsmanship in what is JUST A GAME... Go Big Red!!!!
    • reply
      by Vic on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:15 AM in reply to
      Nothing but liberal BS.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 30, 2011 at 07:13 PM in reply to
      Are you kidding me?! Principal Hanna as well as all the coaching staff should be upset! This was an embarassment to Leon High. They won the game and should have acted in a sportsmanlike fashion, winning with humbleness for a game well played. And to answer your question, "What if it were your child?" I would expect my child has been taught the type of character that would keep them out of such display, but if they were involved, I would expect them to take whatever punishment, even arrest if necessary, to make them stand and answer for their poor decisions. You are the type of parent that is the problem with our kids these days. No respect. No character. No owning up to your responsibility. Shame on you. Have a nice rest of the year...from the bleachers.
  • by Mr Clean on Sep 30, 2011 at 08:38 AM
    Ok high school is tougher just to get you ready for college for breaking the rules
  • by Sad Location: Tallahassee on Sep 30, 2011 at 07:37 AM
    As sad as I am that this fight happened, I am sadder with the media sensationalism of this event. 6 out of the past 7 days this has been on the front page of the Democrat and a top story on WCTV and other channels. I am not making excuses for the fight and I understand the releasing of the video due to the criminal investigation/public records release. I just feel like the sensationalism in the over reporting of this event is an indictment on our local media and our populace. There were so many of you who were foaming at the mouth to see this video. I hope you are all satisfied. Sad...
  • by Jim Location: Gadsden County on Sep 30, 2011 at 07:28 AM
    Thugs in uniform. The criminals should be charged with the crime they committed. People of authority you have not done these people any favor. You will hear from them again
    • reply
      by dev on Sep 30, 2011 at 01:29 PM in reply to Jim
      the coach shouldn't be fired they tried to stop it but you can't stop 53 people from fighting
      • reply
        by Jim on Sep 30, 2011 at 05:01 PM in reply to dev
        I didn't say anything about coaches or being fired. Read what I said........
  • by Vic on Sep 30, 2011 at 06:36 AM
    Totally unacceptable...who will pay for the cost of the LE Investigation, medical bills, etc.... The players are learning at an early age that it is ok to be thugh when you play football. If they want to fight put them in the cage & see how they perform. These players should have been expelled, criminally charged and required to pay for any expenses. The head coach needs to be fired.
  • by Anna Location: Tallahassee on Sep 30, 2011 at 05:26 AM
    The Leon High School Football players DID NOT commit a crime.. Yes they were involved in the fight, but a Player from Middleburg was the one who caused injury to his own coach. The one's involved were suspended because after the Authorities and FHSAA reviewed the tape, they saw there were players from both sides fighting. The fight started when a Middleburg player hit one of Leon players with a helmet. Then it got out of hand because others got involved. That is when another plarey from Middleburg took a helmet and attempted to hit a Leon Player, resulting in him injuring his own coach. If parents were on the field after that, maybe they were trying to see about their child who played. My son plays, but was ejected during the game because he slapped a Middleburg player on the side of his helmet. Well after authorities and the FHSAA reviewed the tape , they learned that the player head-butted my son, and after the tackle, took his mouth piece out and hawked up spit and spat in my sons face. Now my son isn't allowed to play because of that. I teach my children to not get involved in mess, but he wasn't involved in the fight and I Thank God he wasn't. Maybe if there are police present during the handshake to make sure nothing is said or done after games, this may help in the future. I know that the other players involved were doing what they though was ok, to protect their own. From where I was in the stands it was hard to see, but it was so many people on the field to see what happened. I just pray this doesn't happen again because hitting someone with something like a helmet could have been fatal and we Thank God it wasn't.
    • reply
      by Jim on Sep 30, 2011 at 08:19 AM in reply to Anna
      Yes they did............
    • reply
      by Football Parent on Sep 30, 2011 at 08:42 AM in reply to Anna
      I know which player you are talking about. My son's eye was cut from them poking him in the face when he was tackled. I even have him on video talking to refs about it and nothing was done. The coach should stand up for his kids and should have done something about it. My son even told his coach and it was just pushed aside. Well we need to move forward and put this all behind us and look forward to the game on 10/7
    • reply
      by Lip Cheese on Sep 30, 2011 at 07:38 PM in reply to Anna
      The kids involved obviously did not have proper parenting. They acted like uncivilized animals and someone could've gotten killed. Whoever was swinging helmets should be charged with attempted murder. The parents of kids on both sides should be fined for "raising" crappy kids.
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