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Misdemeanor battery filed in skirmish over flag football game

Posted: April 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.

An alleged “bad call” at a flag football game resulted in misdemeanor battery charges filed against the teen who refereed the game and the coach of one of the teams, a sheriff’s deputies said.

Each side has filed civilian charges against the other over the incident, said Parks Bureau Sgt. Mike Telles of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Shortly before noon Saturday, the coach of a flag football team called the Cougars stormed onto a field at West Creek Park, near Rio Norte Junior High, to complain about a call that was made by the referee, Telles said.

“He made a call and two coaches which didn’t like the call rushed out onto the field,” Telles said Monday.

“Everyone we talked to said the one coach hit the other (referee) with more of an open hand,” he said.

The game was played by 12-year-olds — the Cougars versus the Predators.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to the field, where they talked to both the coach and the teen referee, Telles said.

Telles said he cannot, by law, identify the teen who was charged.

He also said that since sheriff’s deputies were not at the game to witness the incident, all they can do is honor the requests of both parties to pursue a “private person’s arrest.”

Both parties are expected to appear in Santa Clarita Court in June on their respective misdemeanor charges.

The referee is charged with battery.

The coach, identified by Parks Bureau deputies as Ahjeron Palmer, is charged with battery to a sports official.

Under state law, “battery is committed against a sports official immediately prior to, during, or immediately following an interscholastic, intercollegiate, or any other organized amateur or professional athletic contest in which the sports official is participating, and the person who commits the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is engaged in the performance of his or her duties.”

The offense carries a fine not to exceed $2,000 or a term in county jail of up to one year, or both.

According to the law, “sports official” means anybody who serves as a referee, umpire, linesman, or who serves in a similar capacity.”

Palmer is no longer a coach for the Cougars, said Royal Sports league spokesman Daniel Griswald.
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