Blair cleared of abuse charges

July 30th, 2009 by

TAMPA – Former Commissioner Brian Blair may have thrown the first punch in his Father’s Day scrape with his 17-year-old son, Brett, but the teen was the aggressor.

That was the conclusion of prosecutors who Thursday dropped child abuse charges lodged against Blair.

Speaking to reporters at his attorney’s office, Blair said he hasn’t seen his sons in 10 days. The boys have been vacationing with his wife, Toni. After Blair’s news conference, the Department of Children & Families said the family was free to reunite immediately.

Prosecutors said Blair could argue that he was only disciplining his sons for breaking curfew in the 4 a.m. scuffle. State law allows parents to use corporal punishment to discipline children as long as it isn’t excessive.

They also point out that Blair took the brunt of the injuries in the fight with sons Brett, 17, and Bradley, 14, though none suffered by anyone was considered “substantial or excessive.”

At his news conference, where he thanked the state attorney’s office for its professionalism, Blair maintained he didn’t hit his children. He said he had to defend himself because his oldest son “reacted to my unhappiness in an unexpected way.”

“Teenagers are teenagers, and things will happen sometimes,” Blair said.

In a memo outlining the decision to drop the case, Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters said testimony would likely show the two boys and two houseguests left the Blair home after the parents fell asleep.

“They returned home at 4 a.m. to very angry parents,” she said.

“The defendant began to discipline the victim Brett, first verbally and then physically, and the incident was escalated by the conduct of both victims,” who repeatedly punched the defendant, she said.

She said there is no evidence to refute that conclusion.

Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said her office would have no further comment.

Blair was arrested June 21 and charged with two counts of child abuse after a scuffle broke out between him and his two teenage sons, authorities said.

The memo states that Blair was in the kitchen cooking salmon when the boys and two houseguests returned. Blair and Brett argued and Brett walked away.

When the boy returned to the kitchen to get something to drink, witnesses said, Blair continued to yell at him, pushed him, punched him once in the face and then put him in an arm lock.

Bradley jumped on his dad and began hitting him before being pulled off by his mother and the two friends. Witnesses said Blair hit Bradley with a closed fist on the head for punching him.

When Bradley called 911, he said his mother, brother and father were fighting. In a second call he said, “My brother’s gone crazy and stuff.”

Peters said witnesses said Brett had anger issues with his father and had been suspended from school for aggressive behavior.

Brett told deputies he wouldn’t take being “disrespected” by his father, especially in front of his friends.

“In reviewing the totality of the incident, Brett Blair was more aggressive and hit Brian Blair many more times,” Peters wrote.

The Blair boys weren’t seriously hurt and had minor bruises and injuries, authorities said.

Deputies said Brett had some redness on his hands and Bradley had redness on his neck and a bump on the head.

Brian Blair was bleeding from an earlobe and had a swollen face. He was treated at Tampa General Hospital for a chest contusion and abrasions to his back.

Blair said, “We can all learn from this,” adding that he and his wife will talk more about the events of that night when they are together.

He said he has a loving family and that he has “unconditional love” for his sons. The healing, he said, “starts with a hug and a kiss and an ‘I love you.’”

When asked how the incident might affect his political career, Blair said he was focused on his family but recalls feeling his “whole life was passing before” him when he was arrested.

He said he since has heard from other parents about raising teenagers, and he talked about his passion for mentoring children.

“Sometimes, the most difficult children to mentor are your own,” he said.

2 Responses

  1. The Masked Blogger

    Vinnie Mac would be crazy not to make “Battle axe” Brett and “Bruiser” Bradley a.k.a. “The New Killer Bees” the future WWE tag champs.

  2. tip

    Best content I ever seen. Huge amounts of live feeds, high payouts. Realy cool.

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