Local Hoops: Mac TA wins with Bynum on the bench

Star guard remanded for 2 days; police claim they have evidence that player had "prior intent" when ran over man twice outside TA club.

bnum court 224.88 (photo credit: Benny Ardov )
bnum court 224.88
(photo credit: Benny Ardov )
Just when things seemed to be getting back on track for Maccabi Tel Aviv, the situation took a turn for the worse Sunday afternoon, when guard Will Bynum was remanded for another two days in jail after his alleged involvement in a hit and run incident. Despite the impassioned defense offered by attorney and Maccabi chairman Shimon Mizrahi, Tel Aviv Magistrate Court Judge Ido Dorian refused to allow the player free. Bynum has been in prison since Saturday after he allegedly ran over a young man following an altercation in a Tel Aviv club where the American player was celebrating his 25th birthday. Bynum, who was brought into court handcuffed and with leg shackles, burst into tears when he heard Dorian's decision to extend his remand. "Will is completely broken and he's not in a good psychological state. He didn't do anything on purpose," said Mizrahi, who also protested the restraints placed upon one of his star players. Bynum appeared exhausted and red-eyed during the hearing, which was carried out with translation for the player, who refused to speak with press or bystanders. The extension of Bynum's remand was ultimately a compromise - Mizrahi had demanded that his client be released immediately, whereas police had argued that a four day remand was necessary to ensure that Bynum would not interfere with the investigative process. Police claim that they have evidence that Baynum had "prior intent" when he allegedly ran over 22-year-old Dimona resident Bar Natan Burson at least twice outside of the south Tel Aviv club "The G Spot" early Saturday morning. Burson was listed in moderate condition in Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital after undergoing hip surgery, and was expected to be questioned by police. Police argue that the incident followed an altercation that broke out inside the club, which foreign basketball players frequent on Friday nights, and which is also popular with members of Israel's Black Hebrew community. At least one eyewitness said that it was the Maccabi players who initiated the conflict when they began to flirt with a young woman whose boyfriend was present on the scene. Mizrahi, however, argued that "according to what Will says, he's the one who was attacked... while he was celebrating his birthday together with his brother. Will said that they assaulted him with elbows, provoked him and he didn't respond." Mizrahi pressed the police prosecutor to confirm that she had at least one testimony claiming that Bynum was attacked by youths, who waited for him outside of the club and pelted him with stones - which she did acknowledge. But she did emphasize that police believe that the running-over of the young man "was done with prior intent" and added that now, the police "have objective witnesses, something that we didn't have Saturday." Mizrahi, on the other hand, argued that "all that Will was trying to do was to escape the danger." "There is no doubt that the suspect and his brother went out and people waited for them with a knife and pelted them with rocks," said Mizrahi. "All of this was before they even reached the car. The police is trying to cover up their own failure, they have a knife in their possession. The people tried to flee the scene and there is evidence pointing to the fact that out of fear and pressure, the suspect did not manage to turn on the engine." Mizrahi also pointed to the fact that Bynum's brother had a tear in the jacket that he wore on the night of the incident that seems to have been caused by a knife swipe. Bynum's vehicle, as well as the vehicle driven by teammate Vonteego Cummings, were both impounded by police as evidence. Both cars appear to be damaged on the outside, with windows broken and dents in the panels. It was not, however, immediately obvious as to at what point in the incident the damage was caused to the vehicles. Cummings was also questioned under suspicion of involvement in the initial brawl, but he was released without charges, while Jerome Beasley, a player for Ironi Ramat Gan was also present at the club, and gave testimony to the police.