Dispute at youth basketball game involved off-duty WPD officer

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AUGUSTA, Kan. (KSNW) – Augusta police are investigating after a dispute at a youth basketball game Saturday that involved a member of the Wichita Police Department. Augusta police called it a disturbance between an official and a parent.

An upset father told KSN his 17-year-old daughter, who is the referee of an Augusta youth basketball team, is now scared to step back onto the court after being shoved by an angry parent.

The video was sent to KSN by a person who watched from the stands. You can see the man is on the court and then proceeds to shove the ref, who we are told is a 17-year-old girl.

The president of Augusta’s Youth Basketball Board says this type of behavior is unacceptable.

“If you have a problem with a ref or a coach – find your nearest board member. They’re around. There’s several of them. If you don’t know who they are, ask. Come talk to us,” said Amber Stillwell, Augusta Youth Basketball. “We will take care of it. If it’s a reffing problem, we’ll address it. If it’s a coaching problem, we’ll talk to them but don’t storm the court.”

Wichita police have confirmed that the man involved in the dispute is a member of the Wichita Police Department. They released the following statement:

Wichita Police Department officials have been made aware of an incident during a basketball game in the City of Augusta that involves a department member. WPD will be reviewing the incident to determine if any department polices were violated. WPD officials do not have all the facts surrounding this incident at this time and cannot provide any further comment.”

This particular game was a fifth grade game. KSN spoke with other parents that were there and they say not only does this set a bad example for the kids, it doesn’t show them what sportsmanship is all about.

We also spoke with Augusta Police Sergeant Derek Hibarger.

“The department still has to talk to more of the people who were at the gym,” explained Hibarger. “The case is still under investigation and when it is completed, it will be presented to the city prosecutor for charges.”

Police say that because Monday is a holiday, it may be Tuesday before more details are released about the incident. The 17-year-old girl’s parents, who asked not to be named, released a statement showing their appreciation for the people who stepped in to help their daughter.

“As far as the actions at the Augusta Youth Basketball game we ask that everyone please let the officials with Augusta and Wichita PD handle the situation. As to the coaches and folks in the gyms who kept [our daughter] safe and away from the individual we appreciate your actions. It’s great to be from a small town where people watch out for the kids in town. This is definitely a bad situation for her as an official, but I am sure she will understand that this is a isolated event. To fellow officials across the state and country who have contacted us I certainly appreciate your calls and support for her. Let’s let this be handled and move forward.”

The youth basketball board members tell me they off-duty officer has been banned from attending future games.

“For someone to act like that in front of a gym full of parents and kids? No, that’s not right,” said Stillwell. “If you want to act like a fool. You can leave and not come back.”

The video does not show what happened before the parent came on to the court. Stillwell says it started with a ref call that the parent did not agree with.

“Ref did not blow the whistle as quick as the parent thought it should be so he stood up, started yelling. ‘They need to blow their blank whistle’ and then he proceeded to go straight to the court.”

Several other parents who were in the stands, did not want to talk on camera but were concerned about the actions they saw. One parent questioned the example that is being shown.

“I don’t want my kids thinking that’s how the people, who are supposed to serve and protect us, act,” said a concerned parent who witnessed the incident.

KSN will continue to follow the story as it develops.

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