High School Sports

Fans disagreed with a high school referee’s calls. Then one punched him in the face

A fan walked onto the court and punched a referee during a girls junior-varsity high school basketball game Thursday at Raytown South High School, according to a police report.

Dwan Lamont Marshall Jr., 21, was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct after he left the bleachers and punched referee Dallas Bryant, 33, in the face near the mid-court sideline, the report said.

The punch knocked Bryant to the ground. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene and transported Bryant to the hospital, according to the report.

Marshall’s father, Dwan Marshall Sr., who was also at the game, told responding Raytown Police officers that Bryant missed several foul calls over the course of the game between the Raytown and Raytown South junior-varsity teams.

Marshall Sr. said the final disagreement stemmed from an incident on the court involving his daughter, a player in the game. Bryant scolded the player for tossing the ball along the sideline at the end of the first quarter rather than handing it to him, both parties said.

Bryant and his refereeing partner for the game, Ervin Butler, told officers they walked to the midcourt sideline as the teams huddled between quarters, according to the report.

While standing there, Bryant said Marshall Sr. and several other parents expressed their dissatisfaction with Bryant’s calls throughout the game. According to the report, Bryant said he was “sucker-punched” after telling fans to stop arguing “unless you want to watch the game from the parking lot.” Butler said Bryant’s back was turned to the fans when he was struck.

According to Marshall Sr., Bryant whispered, “I bet you won’t be discussing no elbow call in the parking lot.” The father told officers that his son perceived this as a threat, the report said, and punched Bryant in the face.

A witness told officers that Bryant stated, “You ain’t gonna bring that in the parking lot.”

Raytown Police Det. Larry Jackson, who was working off-duty security at the school at the time of the incident, said in the report that while he was interviewing that witness, Marshall Jr. told him, “I regret punching the ref in the face. It was an emotional response. I shouldn’t have done it. I’m sorry.”

Jackson obtained surveillance video from the school and said in the report that it shows Bryant “backs away from the court, stands in front of Dwan Sr., partially covers his mouth with his hands, gestures with his hand (and) points at the exit doors.” Bryant then returned to the court, where he was hit by Marshall Jr., who was sitting several rows above his father, Jackson wrote in the report.

Jackson said that when he walked into the gym, Bryant was lying on the floor and holding the right side of his jaw.

Raytown South administrators enacted their emergency medical protocol at this point, evacuating fans from the gym and postponing the rest of the game. The schools were to reschedule the game for a later date.

Marshall Jr. was issued a summons to appear in Raytown Municipal Court on Feb. 28.

According to Danielle Nixon, director of communications for Raytown Quality Schools, the incident did not include any current students.

In the Suburban Conferences, which includes both Raytown and Raytown South, referees are paid $60 per game for junior-varsity games.