A Florida sheriff’s sergeant allegedly punched a referee during a children’s soccer game and was arrested on Tuesday.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Michael Russell, who was removed from his position, was arrested on a felony charge of battery on a sports official, Sheriff T.K. Waters said via WJXT-TV.
Waters held a news conference to detail the arrest, pointing out that despite Russell being one of their own, no one is above the law.
“We never relish arresting an employee of this agency,” he said. “However, our collective belief in transparency, openness and accountability outweighs any personal allegiance. We are a society of laws, and no one is above those laws.”
The alleged incident with Russell occurred Sunday morning while he was off duty at the game. A fight had broken out between players on either team and referees tried to break it up, blowing their whistles and getting in the middle of the players.
However, Russell felt the urge to go on the field and punch one of the referees, Waters explained. There appeared to be no explanation as to why.
“It’s really confusing to me. It’s disappointing,” Waters said.
Russell has been a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for 14 years, but Waters mentioned that an “administrative review” will be coming for him after the criminal investigation reaches a close.
While Russell was removed from his post as a homicide sergeant, he remains in employment during the sheriff’s office investigation.