Florida Sgt. Michael Russell faces charges of hitting soccer umpire

A Florida police sergeant was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly punched a referee in the face at a children’s soccer game over the weekend, police said.

Sergeant Michael Russell of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office hit the referee so hard that the whistle popped right out of his mouth, Sheriff TK Waters said during a news conference Tuesday.

Russell, who works in the homicide division, was attending Saturday’s game when he was off duty when a scuffle broke out between players from opposing teams, Waters said. When the referees tried to stop the fight, they blew their whistles to try to get the situation under control, he said.

“Sergeant Russell walked onto the field to one of the umpires and Sergeant Russell punched that umpire in the face,” Waters said, adding that he wasn’t sure why he hit the umpire.

It is unclear which age group has competed.

He was arrested for assaulting a sports official, a third-degree felony, and no longer serves as a homicide sergeant, but remains employed while the trial progresses through the legal system pending regulatory review.


Jacksonville County Sheriff TK Waters during a news conference Tuesday.
Jacksonville County Sheriff TK Waters during a news conference Tuesday.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

Photo of boys playing soccer.
The incident happened during a children’s soccer game.
Shutterstock

Russell has been in the sheriff’s office for 14 years and became a sergeant in 2019.

“It’s at a sporting event for kids, the umpires whistle like you probably hear at football games and everything when things like that happen, and for some reason he hit that official,” Waters said. “Disappointing.”

https://nypost.com/2023/03/29/florida-sgt-michael-russell-charged-with-punching-soccer-ref/ Florida Sgt. Michael Russell faces charges of hitting soccer umpire

JACLYN DIAZ

JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing diza@ustimetoday.com.

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