A California man faces battery charges for striking a 17-year-old referee during a youth flag football game, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced.
Upset about a call in a game for children ages 12-14, Ahje Palmer allegedly walked onto the field during game action and struck the teenage ref once in the face, knocking him to the ground, the statement said.
Based on 13 witness accounts, L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey charged Palmer, 34, with one county of battery on a sports official for the April 20 incident at Valencia's West Creek Park. The battery against a sports official carries a stiffer penalty, according to KHTS AM (h/t L.A. Times).
"Some of the witnesses at first said that the referee pushed the coach, but we later found that not to be true," L.A. County Sheriff's Department Deputy John Jones told the local news station. "He was putting his hands up, saying, 'You cant come on the field.' (Palmer) basically slapped him and knocked (the referee) to the ground."
Palmer was arrested on the afternoon of the incident and has since been released on $20,000 bail, according to the reports. He was charged with battery on Tuesday.
"With so many kids on the field, it was just a little bit much," Jones added. "It's something you don't expect out of a coach, especially someone who's coaching little kids."
This incident occurred one week before a teenage soccer player in Utah punched referee Ricardo Portillo in the head over a yellow card, resulting in the 46-year-old man's death. The 17-year-old in question was originally charged with aggravated assault.