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UPDATE: Deputy, police officer injured at little league basketball game

(WSAZ)
Published: Jan. 23, 2017 at 8:49 PM EST
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UPDATE 1/25/17 @ 1:30 a.m.

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man is banned from a youth basketball organization for life and is facing charges related to an incident that left one Jackson County, West Virginia Sheriff's Deputy with a broken kneecap.

Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs says the seeds leading to the incident were planted when a fan, Josh Varney, was ejected from a youth basketball game at Ripley High School on Friday for arguing with a referee.

"Speaking to the refs an unruly fan ended up out on the floor," Boggs said.

Boggs said an off-duty deputy who was in the stands as a coach tried to escort Varney out of the building, until Varney pushed the deputy repeatedly.

"There was a struggle that ensued," Boggs said. "When they went to the floor, the way my officer hit, it actually broke his kneecap in half."

A Ripley Police Officer also suffered a broken foot aiding the deputy in the scuffle.

Varney is facing several charges and, according to Kanawha Valley Youth Basketball League officials, will no longer be permitted to attend any of the organization's games at any location. League officials say his children will be able to continue their participation.

However, Varney says his recollection of the incident is different. He says he was leaving the gymnasium on his own volition, when the deputy approached him.

"I felt someone come up from behind me and wrench on my arm," Varney said. "I thought bones were gonna get snapped at that point so I defended myself."

"It's unfortunate that he's injured, for that I apologize," Varney said. "But, if that guy don't touch me, I'm to the door."

Varney also says the officer did not clearly identify himself before the engagement; a statement contradicted by Boggs.

"Certainly he did identify himself, in particular my officer," Boggs said. "There are several witnesses who would state the same...video surveillance would show exactly what we say happened, happened."

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is in possession of the surveillance video. Officials say they cannot release those images to the public because they plan to use them in the criminal case against Varney.

Jackson County School administrators are trying to determine whether or not policy will allow them to ban Varney from school property.

Meanwhile, the Ripley VFD plans on hosting a benefit spaghetti dinner to help pay for hospital expenses for the injured officers.

It will happen on Feb. 3 from 5-8 p.m. at the Ripley Volunteer Fire Department on Main Street. Proceeds will help both men cover their medical expenses.


ORIGINAL STORY 1/23/17 9:25 p.m.

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Jackson County Sheriff's deputy and a Ripley Police officer are both recovering from injuries following an incident at a little league basketball game.

It happened Friday night at Ripley High School.

According to Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs, the referees ejected a fan, Josh Varney, from the game.

The pair, who was off duty and coaching the children, attempted to help remove Varney.

That is when Sheriff Boggs says a struggle began.

As a result, the deputy's knee cap was broken in half and the officer has an injury to his foot.

Sheriff Boggs says that Varney is facing several charges.

A community dinner is being planned to help pay for the medical expenses of the two men. It will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Ripley Fire Department on Main Street.

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