ANOTHER MESS: Heard About The Arrested Referees?

Friday night at the St. Paul’s-Mandeville football game, a pair of referees were arrested by the Covington police for “public intimidation” and released on $250 bond.

An e-mail we got over the weekend has a description of what happened…

It seems like there was not much the Home Team St Paul’s could have done. St Paul’s is a private Catholic school that foolishly hired local Covington Police Officers for Game Security. A Covington Police Officer was standing on the sidelines with several Mandeville fans. The referee assumed the Officer was standing there to enforce crowd control. Why else would the Officer be on the field? The referee had no idea that the Police Officer, Lieutenant Stephen Short, had a son playing for Mandeville (# 42), and the Officer had invited several of his son’s friends, to come down on the field to watch the game. The incident began with Mandeville facing a third-and-goal at the St. Paul’s 13 and trailing 13-3. The line judge came over to the sideline, and asked for the unauthorized personnel to be removed from the field following a request from the chain gang. The chain gang is on the visitors sideline so they can be viewed from the home press box. The chain gang was having troubles with the Visiting team (Mandeville) fans on the Mandeville sideline. When the side judge asked the Sworn Police Officer to move back, the Officer told the side judge to shut up and worry about the game. The police officer then told the referee that he (the referee) did not have the authority to remove them, and the two exchanged words. The head Umpire then came over to move the fans. Rather than be embarrassed by the game officials, Lieutenant Stephen Short frightened that the referee might blow his whistle or throw a flag at him, called for backup. Needing four other hero policemen, they rushed to the scene on the Mandeville sideline, and less than a minute later, the referee was escorted off the field. Soon after, the line judge was removed, and both were taken off campus and into custody.

Bit of a black eye by the Covington police there.

“Public intimidation” is defined by Louisiana law (RS 14:122) as

§122.  Public intimidation and retaliation

A.  Public intimidation is the use of violence, force, or threats upon any of the following persons, with the intent to influence his conduct in relation to his position, employment, or duty:

(1)  Public officer or public employee.

(2)  Grand or petit juror.

(3)  Witness, or person about to be called as a witness upon a trial or other proceeding before any court, board or officer authorized to hear evidence or to take testimony.

(4)  Voter or election official at any general, primary, or special election.

(5)  School bus operator.

B.  Retaliation against an elected official is the use of violence, force, or threats upon a person who is elected to public office, where:

(1)  The violence, force, or threat is related to the duties of the  elected official.

(2)  Is in retaliation or retribution for actions taken by the elected official as part of his official duties.

C.  Whoever commits the crime of public intimidation or retaliation against an elected official shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both.

Amended by Acts 1979, No. 479, §1; Acts 2003, No. 1089, §2.

It’s a bit difficult to imagine that a high school football referee would have physically threatened a police officer, but that’s apparently what the cop says happened.

Either way, it doesn’t look good.

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