Man who injured Toots & the Maytals singer to serve jail time

The guy that flung a vodka bottle at the Toots & the Maytals frontman was ordered to serve a jail sentence for his actions.

Update #7 — December 13, 2013; 10:29 AM

The young man who threw a vodka bottle that struck Frederick “Toots” Hibbert at last summer’s Dominion Riverrock (see below), William Connor Lewis, will serve jail time for the offense after pleading guilty on Thursday to assault and battery.

Judge Margaret Spencer ordered Lewis to serve six months, less than the one-year jail term Richmond prosecutors argued for.

But Hibbert, lead singer for Toots & the Maytals, wrote a letter, which was read during yesterday’s court proceedings, asking that Lewis not serve jail time at all.

“He is a young man, and I have heard what happens to young men in jail,” wrote Hibbert. “My own pain and suffering would be increased substantially knowing that this young man would face that prospect.”

In June, Hibbert filed a $21 million civil lawsuit against Lewis, claiming the injuries Hibbert sustained have affected his ability to perform and earn a living. That suit is ongoing, as reported by construction attorney Michael Lamonsoff.

In August, Hibbert filed a $20 million lawsuit against Venture Richmond and Sports Backers, organizers of Riverrock, claiming their negligence allowed Hibbert’s injury (see topmost post below).

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Update #6 — August 26, 2013; 12:59 PM

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Venture Richmond and Sports Backers over the injuries the Toots & the Maytals singer sustained at May’s Dominion Riverrock performance (see below).

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the lawsuit also names the Strawberry Street Event and Concession (which sold alcohol at the event) and Regional Marketing Concepts, Inc. (which provided private security).

According to the lawsuit, the organizations “violated the standard of care established in the industry to provide security, to protect performers and musicians appearing in public rock concerts.”

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Update #5 — June 19, 2013; 6:44 AM

Toots & the Maytals have cancelled all previously scheduled concerts as a result of the head injuries lead singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert sustained from a bottle thrown at him during a performance in Richmond (see below), according to a statement released on the band’s website.

This unavoidable decision was made by Toots’ medical team as it has been determined that any performances at this time could seriously compromise the artiste’s health and well being.

Cancelled performances include all dates in the band’s six-week European tour (July 3rd – August 14th). Hibbert also recently cancelled his solo acoustic tour.

Earlier this month, Hibbert filed a $21 million civil suit against the alleged bottle-thrower, William Lewis (see below).

“This tragic incident that caused serious injury to Toots is the subject of an [on]going investigation in terms of responsibility,” said Hibbert’s attorney, Michael Shapiro. “Toots and his management team share with me the view that we should only sue those who we know to have responsibility for this vicious attack.”

But Shapiro intimated that others could be the target of civil action. “As we investigate the matter fuller and that investigation indicates other responsible parties, I can assure you that we will respond in an appropriate manner to impose legal responsibility for any such actions or omissions upon any such individuals, companies, or entities,” Shapiro said.

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Update #4 — June 14, 2013; 6:24 AM

The lead singer of Toots & the Maytals has filed a $21 million lawsuit against the Henrico teen who threw a glass bottle at the singer during a performance at last month’s Dominion Riverrock (see below).

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, 70, filed the lawsuit1 in Richmond Circuit Court on June 4th. The lawsuit seeks $20 million in punitive damages and $1 million in compensatory damages from 19-year-old William Lewis. Hibbert wants the damages to be determined in a jury trial.

Hibbert received seven stitches at VCU Medical Center shortly after the May 18th incident. The following day, Hibbert traveled to New York to begin his solo acoustic tour. However, doctors soon advised him to cancel the tour due to medical issues the reggae musician sustained from the bottle-throwing incident.

According to Billboard, Hibbert’s lawsuit claims that the canceled tour:

“…caused Hibbert to lose significant income, profits, and benefits and has exposed him to potential liability due to his inability to perform on the previously contracted tour dates. As a further and direct proximate result of Lewis’ conduct, Hibbert has been unable to work at his profession by impairing his ability to compose songs, making it impossible for him to record masters in a timely fashion and accordingly has and will lose wages in an amount to be determined at trial.”

Lewis faces a felony criminal charge of malicious wounding for his alleged actions at the Riverrock performance. He is expected to go before a grand jury on July 1st.

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Update #3 — May 26, 2013; 2:17 PM

Toots and the Maytals will cancel the remaining dates of their tour due to the health issues of lead singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert that resulted from him being struck in the head by a liquor bottle at Dominion Riverrock (see below). The extent of Hibbert’s health issues are currently unknown.

Here are the final six dates that have been canceled:

  • May 26th • Lebanon, NG
  • May 27th • Brownfield, ME
  • May 29th • Annapolis, MD
  • May 30th • Ithaca, NY
  • May 31st • South Orange, NJ
  • June 1st • Norfolk, CT

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Update #2 — May 19, 2013; 7:07 PM

Police have arrested 19-year-old William Lewis of Henrico and charged him with felony aggravated assault, along with public intoxication, after Lewis allegedly threw a glass liquor bottle that struck Frederick “Toots” Hibbert in the head (see below).

Here’s footage of the incident (the bottle toss occurs at the 4:25 mark):

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Update #1 — May 19, 2013; 9:56 AM

Here’s an eyewitness account of the incident we received this morning, which matches a similar account over on StyleWeekly:

This is what I saw. (I was right in front of the sound booth, center crowd)

As Toots was completing an excellent reggae version of “take me home, country roads” by John Denver (that’s the one with the chorus of “West Virginia”) someone threw a large glass vodka bottle from the front of the crowd, which struck Toots directly in the head mid verse. Note: I am pretty sure it was glass, it was a large clear bottle, appeared to be a clear liquor bottle.

Toots then staggered towards stage left (from the audience’s perspective) then collapsed on the stage.

The concert immediately ended while band members assisted Toots.

One of the members of the band said something along the lines of “we’ve played in eastern block countries, dangerous places, and in the past 30 years I have never seen anything like this. Because of one asshole in the crowd, this concert is over. Toots is going to the hospital.”

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Original — May 19, 2013

Dominion Riverrock’s saturday night concert, featuring Reggae legend Toots and the Maytals, was shut down after an individual in the crowd threw an object that hit a band member. Sports Backers, organizers of the three-day event, and the Richmond police have yet to provide more details on the incident other than the short release below.

On Twitter, Several attendees said that lead singer Toots Hibert was struck in the head with a glass bottle.

The Sports Backers release:

At approximately 10:20 p.m. Saturday evening, a member of Toots and the Maytals was struck and injured by an object thrown from the crowd at Dominion Riverrock. The concert immediately ceased and spectators were asked to leave Brown’s Island.

At this time, further questions should be directed to the City of Richmond Police Department.

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  1. This is the second lawsuit Hibbert has filed in as many weeks. He recently filed suit in Manhattan Federal Court against a former manager whom Hibbert claims misled the singer into signing a contract under false pretenses, one that Hibbert claims resulted in lost income. He’s seeking $1.25 million in damages. 

Photo by: mhaithaca

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Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. RiverRat on said:

    Our thoughts are with Toots and we all hope for his recovery. His visit to Richmond should have never ended like this. Anyone who knows anything about the bottle thrower should contact the Richmond Police.

  2. Claudia on said:

    I hope Toots fully recovers quickly. It’s a shame how one person can ruin a show for a lot of people! Alcohol should t be sold. It causes too many problems!

  3. Matt on said:

    Seriously, shame on the drunken, living trash pile who did this. I hope you wake up this morning hating yourself even more then you did when you decided to embarrass our city.

  4. John on said:

    I hope the asshole was arrested!!…

  5. RiverRat on said:

    Reported by WTVR: “A 19-year-old male was charged with aggravated assault after Hibbet was hit by a bottle thrown on to the stage, Richmond Police said.”

    Identify the adult arrested! I want a mugshot, now!

    As for the River Rock Festival, I think it makes sense to charge a ticket just to keep this kind of trash out. With a ticket process and better fencing and bag checking, this kind of scum would have never gotten on the island. I would be happy to pay $5 or $10 just to keep these drunken children out. It was getting wild as the Maytals were playing. There were lots of drunken louts stumbling around, and nervous parents were picking up their kids and trying to move away from the scrum. Like the Shamrock the Block, these free events attract the masses, and a few people always seem to screw it up for the rest of us.

  6. mikula on said:

    thanks for ruining a great show asshole

  7. Stella on said:

    Richmond doesnt know how to hold its liquor. Why even sell liqour at a sports event. No need, since Richmonders dont know how to act and prove this time and time again. This time it was a huge fight where 4 people ended up arrested and then this… common denominator… alcohol..

  8. RiverRat on said:

    Our thoughts are with Toots, with a wish for a speedy recovery.

  9. John on said:

    Stella, the kid is from Henrico, not Richmond.

  10. David on said:

    will this kid be sued for loss of potential income for the Toots and Maytals tour? Obviously they have some level of support staff for their tour that were expecting to earn some money for the scheduled shows.

  11. bobj on said:

    I was hoping to see toots at the beachcomber in wellfleet and now its ruined because of a fucktard. This one guy has ruined the kickoff of a great summer.

  12. cortbot on said:

    f’ing alcohol. stupid juice, i swear… youth: crowdsurfing at a reggae show is ridiculous. and if you’re going to do it, the Proper Form is to pass them back, so they dont get dropped on their head by unsuspecting people who are facing the stage

  13. FANrocker on said:

    Is this kid the son of Attorney William K. Lewis? Can anyone confirm this?

  14. Bradley on said:

    3 million a stick? Seem fair.

  15. Jeb Hoge on said:

    Considering this kid’s earning potential, he might as well have asked for ONE BILLION DOLLARS. I think Toots’ lawyer is calling the shots now, though.

  16. Karen.... on said:

    OK – is this starting to look more and more like someone taking advantage of a situation? What happened to Toots was unfortunate and embarrassing for our city and I truly wish him well and am sorry he was injured but I am finding it hard to believe this man cannot perform – at all. Hate to be cynical but…..

  17. Stephanie on said:

    I wonder what this means for the future of Riverrock

  18. Aaron H. on said:

    @ Karen, this is a 70 year old guy who has been performing for 50 years, I highly doubt he’s taking advantage. If you’ve actually seen him perform you’d understand this is a guy who absolutely loves what he does and would definitely be playing those cancelled shows if he could. Did you see the video? That was a big bottle that hit his head, and head injuries are serious business.

  19. Penny on said:

    The footnote is bullshit, erehem, superfluous.

  20. Jeb Hoge on said:

    Et tu, Toot-e?

    He needs to rein his attorney in.

  21. Seriously on said:

    This guy lives in a fantasy world if he thinks he is going to get even close to 21 million out of a 19 year old. I think he should be compensated for his lost income, but asking for $20 million in punitive damages is so ridiculous it makes my head spin.

  22. Scott Burger on said:

    It will most likely be negotiated down in the final settlement. Regardless, I wish Toots the best and if he does have to retire from performing, he retires well.

    I hope the 19 year old and the Fossil Fuel Festival organizers learn their lessons.

  23. Apoates on said:

    This story is frustrating. No he never should have been hit with a bottle and thankfully he was NOT seriously injured. But look at what the idiotic mistake of a teenager had come to. Suing one of the premiere event sponsors in Richmond. Sportsbackers events are fantastic to participate in and to attend and I hope that doesn’t change. Mr Toots needs to get a grip. This was not a 20million dollar injury. Sounds to me like he got a little vacation from some gigs and is trying to make millions. People like him & the bottle throwing teenager are what makes policies and events change to absurdity and i hope that doesn’t happen here.

  24. downtown-watch on said:

    Toots is 70 years old. He’s a professional performer who was forced to cancel his entire album release tour. He needs rehab- and may never feel the same again. You try taking a glass half gallon vodka bottle to the head before you claim “too much”.

    The damages will be paid by the insurance companies anyway, so give up your Sportsbackers defense. I was there, that bottle to the head means pain and suffering, not a little vacation.

    Get better Toots!

  25. Robertson on said:

    @ Aaron H: I love what I do and I’m old. Does that mean I can sue someone for $40 million? If he REALLY loved what he did, he wouldn’t put these companies out of business with his ridiculous claims and take away good venues for up and coming artists. Sure, head injuries are serious. I played rugby for 10 years, I get it. But this isn’t $40 million serious.

  26. scott on said:

    It’s not just toot’s injuries.
    hundreds of people lost their jobs because of this cancelled tour.
    Not to mention the millions in investments that went into getting the tour off the ground.
    Dude and his crew deserve that money.

  27. Just because a settlement is paid out by an insurance company doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost you anything. It raises the cost of premiums, makes insurance more difficult to get, increases the cost to consumers and limits the number and kind of events that are offered. It’s government of the lawyers, by the lawyers and for the lawyers. Guess who benefits?

  28. keith on said:

    events like this have insurance , why is this even news worthy , would this story be the same if a black youth had thrown the bottle that hit Frederick toots hibbert , I do not think so . if you want a really tragic story . read up on Brendan mackey

  29. Morgan on said:

    I have nothing but Love for Toots and am very sorry this incident took place. I think that his lawyers are doing what they do and unfortunately it’s now costing him credibility amongst fans as well as his fellow musicians. Suing the promoters here may bring lost money back but it will likely mean that events here will come to an end as Richmond does not have many promoters who are going to want to risk a similar lawsuit. Please leash the lawyers and remember that rarely does a victim get justice in this country and when he or she does, the costs are usually greater than one can burden? Peace

  30. Scott from Chicago on said:

    Please get well Toots. I saw the video and the kid is an idiot. Worse. Thanks for ur kind efforts to keep him out of jail, 5496! You are an inspiration to humanity with your kind demeanor. And an inspiration to this aspiring musician

  31. Rob Buchanan on said:

    I have seen toots in concert 5 times he is a great performer he puts everything into his shows . To say he is milking the situation is b s he is a 70 year old man who gets struck in the head by a bottle while he is performing making his living his daughter normally sings back up would you like to see your old parent get smashed in the head hope the asshole who did it gets what’s coming to him , sick of these thugs ruining it for all of us and as for the promoters I would not feel to sorry for them they charge and gouge enough for the booze

  32. john on said:

    This is why hippies and wanna be hippie frat/sorority kids shouldnt be allowed to pretend to be oppressed and go to these shows. This is skin head music, music for the working class, music for people not living off mommy and daddys money. We have respect for toots, and that guy wouldnt have made it out of the crowd walking on his own

  33. Peter Aretin on said:

    There are some really asinine comments here. Some people seem more concerned for the promoters and their own convenience than anything else. People who stage events are absolutely responsible for incidents like this, which is why no respectable venue allows people in with weapons and glass containers. I hope the responsible parties, including the parents of the irresponsible jerk who hurled a quart bottle off into space get taken to the cleaners. Jerkface is lucky he didn’t kill someone.

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