Wichita police captain accused of shoving teen ref charged with battery

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A Wichita police captain accused of shoving a teenage referee during a youth basketball game in Augusta has been charged with battery and disorderly conduct. 

Augusta City Prosecutor Benjamin Winters on Monday announced the charges, both misdemeanors, against Kevin Mears. Following the incident, Mears was placed on paid leave and then unpaid leave.

The incident happened Saturday, January 13, at a game involving fifth and sixth grade students. The captain was off-duty at the time.

Video shows a hurt player on the court, and a man, identified as a Mears, rushes to the player. A teenage official appears to stand in the way, and Mears then allegedly pushes her out of the way to get to the player. 

"I know the chief does expect on- and off-duty (officers) to be professional at all times," Officer Charley Davidson said. 

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said last week that officers charged with crimes are no longer getting paid administrative leave.

The Wichita Police Department 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.”

Previous story by Bryan Ramsdale:

The number of confrontations between sports officials and fans, coaches or parents is causing some refs to get out of the business.

Scott Hardin of the Greater Wichita Officials Association says that the number of refs is down and that is in part because of arguments happening between officials and onlookers.

“Overall, in the state of Kansas, our numbers of officiating has dropped in pretty much every sport for the past five years,” Hardin said. “A large reason for that number is due to the amount of abuse verbally that an official would take in whatever sport they are doing.”

Hardin says that the job of the referee is in-part to ignore the onlookers the best they can and focus on officiating.

“We can tolerate it for awhile,” Hardin said. “But if it becomes a distraction, at the state level, state-run activities, we get someone in charge the facility, usually that is an athletic director, to take care of the issue for us.”

“The responsibility of the official is to remain professional and be the calming influence on the situation, whether it be coach player or fan. Whatever the situation is, we have to be the professional and be the calming influence on the situation.”

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