A man permanently lost vision in his left eye after allegedly being hit by former Kansas men’s basketball forward Silvio De Sousa in a fight at Brother’s Bar on Massachusetts Street on New Year’s Eve, according to legal documents obtained by the Kansan.
An affidavit released to the Kansan Friday explains more of the details behind De Sousa’s aggravated battery charges, which is classified as a felony.
De Sousa left the men’s basketball team mid-October, and cited personal reasons at the time. Charges filed in the Douglas County District Court against De Sousa were announced a few days later.
A Lawrence Police officer was reached in the parking lot of Lawrence Memorial Hospital at 2:40 a.m. on Jan. 1, according to the affidavit. The man who contacted police had blood coming from his left eye.
The man, whose identity was not revealed through the affidavit, told police that at around midnight on New Year’s Eve, he walked outside the bar to cool off and observed two blonde women arguing with a tall Black man. The man then told the male he saw to “shut the fuck up,” and was then punched.
The man was not knocked out, but fell to a knee. The other man was held back by a group of bystanders, according to the affidavit.
The man drove himself to the hospital, according to the affidavit. He was told he had an injury in his left eye and left orbital socket.
Later that day, the Lawrence Police Department was contacted by the mother and legal guardian of the man. She reported her son is mildly autistic. She added that her son was transferred to Shawnee Mission Medical Center where he underwent surgery to repair the eye and orbital area.
Since January, the man has had multiple doctors visits and surgeries trying to save his eye. In August, doctors informed him that he would not regain vision in his left eye and that he should start exploring prosthetics.
Detectives revisited Brother’s Bar later in January for their investigation. A doorman recalled seeing De Sousa strike the man. Other witnesses interviewed alleged the man did nothing other than yell at De Sousa to shut up, according to the affidavit.
In October, detectives asked De Sousa’s legal counsel to speak with him regarding the incident. Police’s request was initially declined. But De Sousa finally granted permission to talk a week later.
In a meeting in the McCarthy Hall dining room on Oct. 15, De Sousa told his account of the incident to detectives.
De Sousa said he and his friends were waiting for an Uber when he was approached by a man telling him to “shut the fuck up.” De Sousa then said he “swatted” at the man but missed. Then after the man said something derogatory De Sousa swung again, resulting in him “swatting” the man on the right cheek, according to the affidavit. De Sousa also said the man did not fall and was not bleeding.
De Sousa then provided detectives with a list of witnesses to interview, but detectives told him these people had already been interviewed and they contradicted his account.
De Sousa and his counsel then requested to answer no further questions. De Sousa opted out of the 2020-21 men’s basketball season the next day, Oct. 16.
The former Kansas forward has had a few problems since arriving in Lawrence midway through the 2017-18 men’s basketball season. De Sousa was suspended for the entirety of the 2018-19 season due to an NCAA investigation citing his guardian received improper benefits from Adidas. He was also suspended for 12 games last season for his involvement in an altercation during a game against Kansas State in January.
De Sousa has a notice to appear in court at 3 p.m. on Dec. 17.