Holy Cross student called racial slur during Bourbon Street fight surrenders to police, claims self-defense

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 01:24:54 PM. The Holy Cross School athlete who got into a fight after being called a racial slur on Bourbon Street over the weekend surrendered to authorities Wednesday, and his attorneys said

The Holy Cross School athlete who got into a fight after being called a racial slur on Bourbon Street over the weekend surrendered to authorities Wednesday, and his attorneys said they are confident prosecutors will refuse charges against him and two of his friends after they review a widely seen cellphone video of the incident and other evidence.

Kyree Curington, 17, was booked on two counts of simple battery three days after two 18-year-old schoolmates, Rhett Weidenbacher and Chris Collet, were arrested.

Weidenbacher's attorney has said his client became involved in the fight after a 33-year-old man called Curington, an African-American, a "n****r" and someone referred to Weidenbacher as a "n****r lover." Curington had used the same word himself before punches were thrown. 

Curington's attorneys, Garron Johnson and Royce Duplessis, said, "We believe the video is the best evidence of what actually occurred. We are deeply concerned by how Kyree and his friends are now being criminalized.

"The boys are clearly the victims of a grown man who was looking to pick a fight with our client simply because he was a young black man. This type of cowardly bigotry has no place in our city."

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Video: Holy Cross football player, schoolmate jailed after brawl on Bourbon Street

Rhett Weidenbacher was having a good weekend.

Johnson and Duplessis added that Curington and his family are "extremely grateful that his friends came to his defense" and are confident no charges will be filed against him, Weidenbacher or Collet once prosecutors evaluate the video and speak with witnesses.

The minute-long video shows an unidentified white man standing next to a car at the corner of Bourbon and Bienville streets early Sunday insulting Curington, a defensive back on the Holy Cross foortball team. Curington and the older man then get into a fight, drawing in several more people.

At one point, the video shows the man who had used the slur raising his fist as if to throw a punch at Curington. Someone matching the description of the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Weidenbacher then steps into the frame and lands one hard punch, dropping the man with the raised fist to the ground.

The video — initially posted on Facebook and then deleted — shows the fight spill into a nearby bar before it is broken up. The man who was knocked down does not get up before the clip ends.

Police said they arrested Weidenbacher and Collet a couple of blocks away.

Can't see video below? Click here. (Warning: Video contains explicit language.) 

The man who was knocked out was taken to the hospital, having struck his head on the curb, police said. Officials have since said he was in critical condition.

A second man listed as a victim in the case is also 33 years old, and he hasn't been identified either.

This weekend's arrest complicated existing legal problems for Weidenbacher, a Holy Cross tight end who turned 18 Saturday and caught a game-winning pass Friday night to snap a 17-game losing streak for the Tigers against Archbishop Rummel.

He had entered a counseling and community service program that gave him the chance to avoid being tried on charges that he fractured a former Holy Cross student's eye socket during a house party in March, but he faces ejection from the program after the weekend's events, authorities have said.

Weidenbacher's attorney, David Courcelle, said some of his client's teeth were also knocked out before he jumped into the fight against Curington's antagonist.

Curington was in the process of being released on his own recognizance Wednesday evening. Holy Cross has suspended him, Johnson said.

Collet, who like Curington is facing two counts of simple battery, was released on his own recognizance Sunday. Weidenbacher, facing a count of simple battery and one of aggravated second-degree battery, posted $7,500 bail Monday for his release. Their status at Holy Cross was not clear.

The most serious count in the case is aggravated second-degree battery, which can carry up to eight years in prison.

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