In a preview clip for an upcoming episode of Love After Lockup, we see Kevin Hale following through on his threat to knock Kurtis’s “p***y a** out” by literally knocking his p***y a** out. Above is a comic book reenactment of the parking lot punch.
For those of you who haven’t watched the episode yet, I will provide a little context. Both Kevin and Kurtis have arrived to pick up inmate Tiffany from a halfway house, and they begin to exchange words. Kurtis mocks Kevin’s size by comparing him to a third grader. “Don’t you f***ing touch me, dawg,” Kevin says as he points his finger in Kurtis’s face. “‘Cause I’ll knock your p***y a** out.”
Kurtis has his hands behind his back and he sticks his jaw out before daring Kevin to “do it.” Kevin, with a cigarette still in his left hand, rares back with his right hand and delivers a brutal punch to the jaw that Kurtis so graciously offered.
Kurtis appears to get knocked out cold as he falls head first into the pavement. Kevin, who looks to be no stranger to street (aka parking lot) fighting, quickly backs away and is prepared for retaliation. That’s where the clip ends.
Here’s the video of Kurtis finding out that you should never mess with a third grader:
The preview clip shown on WE tv at the end of this week’s episode had a little bit more. Those with a keen eye noticed that there is a police officer present on the scene. (At least he is some sort of “officer” with a badge.) He can be seen in the background, quickly moving out of the way so as not to break Kurtis’s fall into the pavement. The officer then rushes to Kurtis’s unconscious body to either provide assistance or start counting to ten.
UPDATE – Kevin stated during an Instagram live stream that the man was a security officer hired by production and not a police officer.
The scene appears to be a clear cut case of aggravated assault. And, given that there was a police officer present, Kevin would be just as unable to duck an assault charge as Kurtis was unable to duck a punch, right? That does not appear to be the case.
I looked into court and jail records and could find no evidence that Kevin was charged for the altercation. (Kurtis was recently arrested for aggravated assault, but that was for an unrelated incident.)
— Starcasm (@starcasm) March 25, 2022
Why Wasn’t Kevin Arrested?
The two most obvious questions I had after seeing the preview clips of the punch are:
1. Why wasn’t Kevin arrested?
2. Why was there a police officer present for an inmate pickup from a halfway house?
There may be one answer for both questions. Texas is one of few states with a mutual combat statute. This statute allows for one person to fight another without the risk of prosecution if the victim consented (or there was a reasonable appearance of consent), and as long as there was not a threat of “serious bodily injury.”
The actual Texas statute also doesn’t allow for mutual combat if one or both of the participants might lose his/her occupation, was a risk to “recognized medical treatment” or “a scientific experiment conducted by recognized methods.” Claiming mutual combat also does not apply if the “combat” is part of initiation or continued membership in a “criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.”
Even with the Texas mutual combat statute, couldn’t it still be argued that there was risk of “serious bodily injury,” as evidenced by the fact that Kurtis certainly seemed to sustain seriously bodily injury when his p***y a** got knocked out?
I will let attorney Brandon Barnett from Barnett Howard & Williams PLLC tackle this one:
Consent is not a defense to assaultive conduct that results in serious bodily harm. Serious bodily harm is defined as “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” [Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 1.07 (West)] Courts have not produced a definitive demarcation line on what types of assaultive conduct constitute serious bodily harm and what fall short. Serious bodily harm is evaluated on a case-by-case basis [312 S.W.3d at 213] accounting for the “disfiguring and impairing quality of the bodily injury.” [Blea v. State, 483 S.W.3d 29, 34–35 (Tex. Crim. App. 2016)] Injuries are evaluated at the time of the infliction, irrespective of subsequent ameliorating treatment. [Goodman v. State, 710 S.W.2d 169, 170 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1986, no pet.)]
Courts have found that the loss of teeth can constitute a serious bodily harm when paired with a sore neck and a week-long hospital stay [Hatfield v. State, 377 S.W.2d 647, 648 (Tex. Crim. App. 1964)] however, so far, courts have only found the loosening of teeth to rise to the level of serious bodily injury when paired with other serious injuries including fractured facial bones. [Pitts v. State, 742 S.W.2d 420, 421 (Tex. App. – Dallas 1987)] Blows to the head may or may not constitute serious bodily harm depending on whether they lead to concussion. Similarly, memory loss may or may not constitute serious bodily harm depending on whether it is a product of concussion. [Powell v. State, 939 S.W.2d 713, 718 (Tex.App.-El Paso 1997, no pet.)] Ultimately, if the State alleges serious bodily harm, it is a question of fact for the jury to decide. [312 S.W.3d at 213]
In Miller v. State, the state did not allege serious bodily harm and the Court found that the loosening of teeth and the temporary loss of consciousness with no accompanying memory loss did not rise to the level of serious bodily harm.
I assume that Love After Lockup producers were well aware of the Texas mutual combat statute and had Kevin and Kurtis sign a consent form prior to meeting up in the parking lot. I also assume that producers had a police officer on scene.
If word gets out about the mutual combat statute, I’m thinking we might be seeing some potential Texas road trips for cast members on other reality shows! Producers may even start filming reunion shows in Texas with all cast members (not the host) required to sign a mutual combat consent form!
To watch Kevin tucking Kurtis into an asphalt bed, be sure to tune in to the new episode of Love After Lockup airing this Friday night at 9/8c on WE tv! It’s like a pay-per-view MMA match for free!