Warrant: Michigan coach admitted to punching referee
A Michigan coach accused of assault at a Saturday night basketball game told deputies the referee had done nothing to deserve getting hit, according to court documents.
Keyon Menifield, 40, of Flint, faces a charge of assault of a sports official, a class A misdemeanor.
McCracken sheriff's deputies responded late Saturday to Paducah's Sports Plex, after hearing that a referee had been punched and was unconscious, bleeding from the face, according to the complaint against Menifield.
The referee, Kenny Culp, 61, was taken initially to Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, but was later transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, according to Sheriff Matt Carter.
Deputies said Menifield fled the scene and was located a short time later at a local hotel. He was arrested, booked into McCracken County Jail, and has been released.
Culp's niece, KaSondra Barnett, posted an update on social media about her uncle's condition Sunday. She said Culp, a cancer survivor, is being treated for a broken collarbone, a crack in his sinus cavity, and a concussion/bruise on the brain with bleeding.
"We are still waiting for more tests to be done before we will know anything else," Barnett told The Sun Sunday.
"It is a risky situation, as he has a steel rod in his back for scoliosis, and he is also a kidney transplant patient and in remission for bladder cancer."
Barnett said Culp has been a sports official for more than 25 years in baseball, basketball, softball and volleyball. He'd never had an altercation before Saturday, she said.
"Everyone that knows him knows he would never harm a fly," Barnett said. "He is one of the most gentle and loving souls you would ever meet."
On his Facebook page, Menifield wrote Sunday that he "knocked the ref out." He said he assaulted Culp for calling him a racist name. Culp supporters, who were posting on Menifield's page, adamantly denied the claim.
McCracken Deputy John Lancaster said Menifield told a different story after his arrest, according to court documents. "He stated that he lost control and things got heated, and he punched the referee...," Lancaster wrote.
"He stated that the referee did not deserve this and he (Culp) didn't do anything to cause it. He (Menifield) also stated that he was wrong and seems to be regretting his decision tonight."
In the complaint, Lancaster justifies arresting Menifield on the misdemeanor due to his perception that the coach was a flight risk.
Lancaster said deputies and Paducah Police officers met Saturday night at the Courtyard by Marriott on Technology Drive, where Menifield was staying.
"I tried multiple times to get him to come to the door but he refused," Lancaster wrote.
He said Paducah officers saw Menifield try to leave out the back door of the room.
"When he observed the officers he went back inside and closed the door."
Menifield eventually came to the door and Lancaster reported he escorted Menifield into his cruiser.
"I do not believe if we cited him and released him that he would come back to court for these charges," Lancaster wrote.
Menifield is currently free on a $1,000 bond, and his bond conditions don't list staying in Kentucky while his case is pending.
Kentucky's assault of a sports official statute says a person is guilty if he "causes physical injury" to a sports official performing official duties at the time or while arriving at or departing the sports facility.
Carter said the sheriff's department is waiting for more information from medical professionals regarding Culp's injuries, before determining whether to charge him with a felony.