A youth coach from Michigan was charged with assault Saturday in McCracken County after he allegedly knocked a referee unconscious at a basketball game, hospitalizing the official and causing serious injuries.
Keyon Menifield, 40, of Flint, Michigan, is charged with assault of a sports official, a misdemeanor.
McCracken Sheriff's deputies said they responded at 10:42 p.m. to the Sports Plex on U.S. 60 on a report of assault. Deputies said Menifield and official Kenny Culp, 61, of Paducah, had a disagreement.
"During the disagreement, the referee turned to walk away. As he did, Menifield punched the referee, knocking him unconscious," deputies wrote in a news release.
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 was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
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.
"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 County Sheriff Matt Carter said the investigation into the alleged assault is ongoing.
"The initial charge was made prior to any medical evaluation that could enter into the equation to ensure that the most accurate charge was in place," Carter said.
"We will follow the law and charge in accordance to what the law will allow. Obviously we're not going to undercharge this guy if there is a more severe charge that can be placed on him."