An umpire at a Missouri baseball game was arrested on charges of assault after allegedly engaging in a brawl with a sheriff’s deputy and placing the deputy in a chokehold.
The incident took place at Ballparks National in Camden County earlier this month, according to reports from local news outlets.
The altercation began when deputies responded to a report from a woman who claimed that the 56-year-old umpire, Neal Sidebottom, had pushed her during an argument at the baseball field. When one of the deputies approached Sidebottom to obtain his statement as part of the investigation, the umpire reportedly refused to identify himself and attempted to walk away from the scene.
A physical confrontation ensued when the deputy tried to prevent Sidebottom from leaving, resulting in a wrestling match on the ground. Sidebottom managed to place the deputy in a chokehold before bystanders intervened to help the struggling deputy. Law enforcement officials subsequently took Sidebottom into custody.
The injured deputy was transported to the hospital for treatment. He sustained injuries including a broken rib, contusions on his lower back, elbows and knees. The deputy is currently recovering at home and is on medical leave.
The Camden County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged Sidebottom with resisting arrest and first-degree assault of a special victim. His bond has been set at $100,000.
Authorities express gratitude to the individuals who stepped in to assist the deputy during the incident. Ballparks National has taken immediate action by terminating Sidebottom’s employment and banning him from the premises. In a statement, the organization emphasized its zero-tolerance policy for such behavior and assured that the incident was an isolated occurrence in the history of the facility.
The incident adds to a growing number of altercations during baseball games reported this year. At the major league level, a recent Chicago White Sox game included a fight that broke out in the stands that began when two women were involved in a conflict that grew into a massive crowd battle, the Daily Mail reported.