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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Floyd Mayweather and Josie Harris: Domestic Abuse and a Premature Death

     In September 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Floyd Mayweather, the undefeated lightweight boxing champion of the world, entered Jose Harris' house and beat his ex-girlfriend in front of their three children. During the assault, the estranged couple's oldest son, 10-year-old Koraun, slipped out of the house and asked a security guard to call the police.

     A Clark County prosecutor charged Mayweather with felony domestic abuse. In October 2011, Mayweather pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of misdemeanor battery in return for a 87-day sentence.

     On June 1, 2012, Mayweather began serving his time at the Clark County Detention Center. Because he was a celebrity and a notorious loudmouth, corrections officials, for the boxer's own protection, isolated him from the general jail population.

     A few days into his incarceration, Mayweather's attorney filed an emergency motion asking for a modification of the multi-millionaire's sentence. The boxer's lawyer, citing "inhumane conditions" at the lockup, wanted the justice of the peace to change Mayweather's sentence to house arrest, or, at the very least, three days a week in jail and the rest of the week at home. (There are millions of Americans who would plead guilty to murder in order to be sentenced to life without parole at Mayweather's Las Vegas, palatial, 12,000-square-foot mansion.)

     So what were the inhumane conditions that required Mr. Mayweather's immediate rescue from county incarceration? Was he living off bread and water in a stifling hot cell equipped with a bucket and a lice-infested mattress? Was he fighting off rats, sexual predators, a gang of deranged skinheads, and sadistic guards? What?

     According to the 35-page sentence modification motion with the attached affidavit from Mayweather's personal physician, Dr. Robert Voy, after 10 days in the can, the boxer was getting out of shape. Incarceration was interfering, in a serious way, with his career as a prize fighter. (The previous month, in his victory over Migel Cotto, Mayweather earned $32 million.) As an inmate at the Clark County Jail, Mayweather was not able to maintain his exercise regime. And perhaps even worse, the jail's food and water were simply not up to his standards.

      Because he was forced to eat bread, fruit, and energy bars purchased from the commissary rather than the slop fed to the other inmates, Mr. Mayweather was only taking in 800 calories a day. In other words, his Clark County captors were starving him to death. Mr. Mayweather was not an ordinary beater of woman, this man was a professional. He was the holder of a world title belt, and lest one forget, he had been on the reality TV show, "Dancing with the Stars"! (His only defeat.) How could this be happening in America?

     Arguments on Mayweather's motion were heard before Las Vegas justice of the peace Melissa Saragosa on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Ruling that Mayweather's request did not meet the criteria for sentence modification, (an illegal sentence, or one based upon an untrue assumption or mistake of fact) Judge Saragosa condemned the prisoner to serve out his full term at the Clark County Detention Center.

     When asked by a reporter to comment on Mayweather's sentence modification plea, Clark County prosecutor Lisa Luzaich remarked, "It's jail. Where did he think he was going? The Four Seasons?"

    In 2014, Mayweather's ex-girlfriend and mother of his three children, in an interview with a reporter with USA Today, discussed the assault that had landed Mayweather in jail, and what is was like living with him for ten years. According to Harris, on that night in September 2010, Mayweather yanked her out of bed by her hair, and while punching and kicking her in front of their two sons and daughter, screamed profanities. Harris said that during their decade long relationship, he had assaulted her six times.

     In 2015, Katie Couric interviewed Floyd Mayweather for Yahoo Global News. To Couric, Mayweather said, "I'm rich and I'm black and I'm outspoken. Those are three strikes right there." Regarding the September 2010 assault he had pleaded guilty to, the boxing champion said, "Did I kick, stomp, and beat someone? No, that didn't happen. I look in your face and say, 'No, that didn't happen.' Did I restrain a woman that was on drugs? Yes, I did. So if that's domestic violence, then you know what? I'm guilty of restraining a person."

     Not long after the publication of the Katie Couric interview where Mayweather essentially accused Josie Harris of being a drug addict, she filed, in a Los Angeles County Court, a $20 million defamation lawsuit claiming intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

     On March 10, 2020, at 9:42 in the evening, someone made a call to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's station in Los Angeles County. The caller reported an unresponsive woman in a car parked in the driveway of a home in the suburban community of Valencia. Emergency personnel with the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the call, and at the scene, pronounced the woman in the vehicle, 40-year-old Josie Harris, dead.

     At the time of Josie Harris' death, the $20 million dollar defamation suit against Floyd Mayweather was still pending. Harris was also working on a memoir.

     On Thursday, March 12, two days after Josie Harris was found dead in her car, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported that Floyd Mayweather, on social media, had been showing himself flashing wads of bills and partying in the red light district of Amsterdam. The 43-year-old boxing promotor posted photographs and videos of himself in the alleys known in the city for its legal prostitution, adult theaters, and sex shops. Despite Coronavirus concerns, Mayweather had been traveling around Europe.

     As of this writing, the cause and manner of Josie Harris' death remained undisclosed. A spokesperson for the Los Angles Sheriff's Department said the case was being handled as a death investigation rather than a homicide.

1 comment:

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