MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida tennis coach is telling his side of the story and apologizing after he’s accused of hitting a 5-year-old with a tennis racket in an incident that was caught on camera.
“I’m here begging the family to please accept my apology and to know that a mistake was made,” said tennis instructor Osmailer Torres. “Anyone who knows me can speak to my character and knows I’m a much better person than what that video shows in those few seconds.”
Surveillance video taken in April of last year at Miami’s First Presbyterian Church on Brickell Avenue shows the 31-year-old coach giving tennis lessons to several children.
“The boys, per usual, were playing around with their rackets and an accident happened and I didn’t want another student to get in any sort of trouble with the racquets,” said Torres.
According to court documents filed by Torres’s lawyer, Eduardo Pereira, Torres had already reprimanded the child and isolated him to keep him from striking other children when the little boy made his way toward the children.
Torres says he was trying to take the racket away from the child when Torres appears to strike the child with the racket.
“There’s no intention behind this. It was a mistake. Anyone who knows me, anyone who can attest to my character, knows that this is not something that I do,” Torres said.
Torres was arrested and charged with child abuse in July 2016. He continues to coach and teach children both as a tennis instructor and as a Sunday school teacher. He says he’s learned quite a few lessons from this incident himself.
“I’ve learned that forgiveness is hard. I’ve learned that mistakes are made. And I’ve learned to forgive people much easier now,” he said.
Pereira is asking the court to grant his client immunity from criminal prosecution based on Torres’ claim that he was protecting other children from harm.
Pereira released a statement that read, in part:
“Mr. Torres was not trying to hit anyone, rather he was trying to stop some routine horseplay before someone was injured more seriously. Mr. Torres was unaware that the child had even been hit until he was informed by police officers.”