The high school football season reaches a climax this weekend with the city championships, but NY1 has learned one of the star players has a far bigger battle ahead of him: in court. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Seventeen-year-old Rahmel Ashby is a star high school running back, appearing on ESPN's college recruiting website. He's scheduled to play with his team at Yankee Stadium for the city championship Sunday.
His name also appears on a criminal complaint. Ashby, a senior at Grand Street Campus High School in East Williamsburg, is charged with attempted murder.
"We intend to make sure that justice is done in this case, and we will hold this man accountable for what he did," said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.
On April 29, 2014, Ashby allegedly fired a gun into a crowd, wounding three people. The judge released him on $50,000 bail.
On October 30 of this year, he was arrested again. Police say he had a loaded .380 semi-automatic handgun.
"We sought his remand at the last court appearance, where we argued his status," Thompson said.
But the judge let Ashby out on $500,000 bail.
"The idea that my child is out there with him actually scares me," said one woman, who asked NY1 not to use her name. Her son plays for Curtis High School, which lost to Ashby's team last week.
"Something has to change," the woman said. "There's no way that you can put kids that actually work towards their future on a field with kids that aren’t working towards their future. They're working towards the detriment of society."
The city Department of Education requires that student athletes have passing grades and 90 percent class attendance, but the eligibility rules do not address criminal allegations. The DOE says it's up the individual school.
Sports ethicist Shawn Klein says an argument can be made to let Ashby play Sunday.
"He could be innocent, and if he's innocent and then deprived of this opportunity to play in a chamionship game, it could have a long-lasing impact on his life," Klein said.
But that ethicist also said the school had a responsibility to investigate the charges to determine if Ashby should play. NY1 reached out to the school and did not hear back.
Ashby's lawyer said only that his client is innocent until proven guilty.
The Brooklyn DA says Ashby's attempted murder trial is set for January.