Charges Dropped: Covington Police Chief & Mayor Apologize to Arrested Referees

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There has been a new development in the arrest of two referees at a North Shore football game last week. Wednesday night we were the first to report charges would be refused and they have.

“On behalf of the city of Covington I offer my sincere apology to Mr. Radcliffe and Mr. Gambino,” says Covington Mayor Mike Cooper.

“We apologize from bottom of our hearts for the events that took place last Friday night. It should have been handled differently,” says Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz.

The Mayor of Covington and their newly appointed Police Chief are now apologizing nearly one week after two referees were escorted off the field, put into the back of a police cruiser and arrested.

It all happened in front of hundreds of fans attending the St. Paul’s home game versus rival Mandeville last Friday. Only WGNO cameras were rolling as the confrontation unfolded.

Jim Radcliffe and Christopher Gambino, two referees with 20-plus years of experience, we’re facing criminal charges. The two had been booked with public intimidation. Now, newly appointed Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz, who has only been on the job for days, is saying what his officer did was wrong.

“We spoke with District Attorney Reed and requested that the case and the charges against these two gentlemen be refused. He agreed with us that that’s the right thing to do,” says Chief Lentz.

President of the Greater New Orleans Football Officials Association Eddie Allemore is pleased, but says much of the damage has already been done.

“It’s quite an embarrassment, and their mug shots are still out there if you look at a lot of the articles they still have their mug shots up, and we hope it goes away,” says Allemore.

Allemore says it’s up to his men to pursue legal action against Covington Police. Chief Lentz says he’s still unsure whether disciplinary action will be taken against the arresting officer. At this point everyone is just trying to put last Friday night behind them.

“As an official you never want to see your name in the paper. I’ll be ready for that to get over with,” says Allemore.

“At the end of the day the Mayor and I, the police department, we truly believe this was the right thing to do,” says Chief Lentz.

Allmore originally wanted to keep Covington officers away from his referees. He says for Friday’s game at Covington High St. Tammany Deputies will still be proving on field security. St. Paul’s plays away so it is not an issue this week. In the future though he says eventually a plan will be hammered out. Allemore says it’ll take a bit of time for the two to once again create a trusting relationship.