Cooper Lee, an Alabama basketball team manager, told The New York Times that he, not freshman player Kai Spears, was in Brandon Miller’s car at the time of the January 15th deadly shooting.
“I can confirm that I was the passenger in Brandon Miller’s car at the time of the shooting,” Lee told The Times.
In its initial reporting of the shooting, The New York Times said that Spears was in Miller’s car along with Jaden Bradley and Darius Miles that night. Miles and his friend, Michael Lynn Davis, were arrested and indicted on capital murder charges by an Alabama grand jury for the death of Jamea Jonae Harris.
In March, Spears denied his presence in Miller’s car, and called out The New York Times for its reporting.
“I have one thing to say – the report in the New York Times was 100% inaccurate and the writer had complete disregard for the truth,” Spears wrote on Instagram at the time. “I am trying to process and cope with these false statements that somehow have been and then seen by so many. So thankful to Alabama Athletics for refuting it on my behalf.”
On Wednesday, Spears filed a lawsuit against The Times seeking $75,000 in retribution for the mistake, along with a retraction, which the paper initially denied. However, after Lee confessed to The Times, spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said the paper would issue a correction.
“We have a longstanding policy of correcting errors,” she said. “Based on information in the affidavit and new reporting by our newsroom, we believe our original story was not accurate and plan to append an editor’s note to the story.”
According to The Times, the lawsuit also provided new evidence of Spears’s whereabouts that night as proof that he was not in Miller’s car.