A Mississippi deputy was charged with assault and disorderly conduct after participating in a fight at a pee-wee football game in which he was coach, police say.
The Monroe County sheriff’s department responded to a call of a fight at the Houston Charger peewee football game on Saturday to confront and arrest one of their own officers.
“We initially got a call earlier in the day, and our officers responded and found adults arguing,” Houston Police Chief Billy Voyles said. “We got them settled down and left.”
Voyles said officers returned to the field at noon however to find “one man on the ground and fans walking around on the field.”
“We had two officers out there who finally got everybody separated,” Voyles said. “And we called for an ambulance.”
Voyles said two men were arrested and taken to the Chickasaw County Jail where they posted bond.
One of the men arrested was 46-year-old Monroe County sheriff’s deputy Rodney Starling of Amory, who was charged with disorderly conduct and simple assault.
What exactly transpired and the to what extent the officer was involved in the incident is not yet clear but police say the deputy was off-duty and had been fighting on the field with a local Houston businessman who was coach of the other team.
Witnesses say that Starling wasn’t happy with how the other team was playing so he took his team off the field and forfeited the game.
Once the teams were lined up and shaking hands, that’s when witnesses say the fight broke out before responding officers arrested both men, who have subsequently been thrown out of the Youth Developmental Football Association of North Mississippi.
Voyles said police stopped the game and made everyone go home before ambulance crews attended to one injured person but did not transport him.
“We don’t need this happening in front of our kids and where people go to have a good time,” Voyles said. “Anyone with details about this incident, or any other crime around here, is urged to contact the police department and help us stop this kind of thing in Houston.”
Starling has reportedly been suspended without pay from the Monroe County sheriff’s department.