• Video shows fight between ref and fan

    By: Tom Jones


    CHAMBLEE, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News obtained video of a game where a referee punched a fan after he said the fan pushed him and called him a name.

    That fan, a parent of one of the players on the Chamblee girls' basketball team, is a pastor and was later arrested.

    It happened at Chamblee High School during a game against Redan Jan. 29.

    School officials said referee Eddie Jester, a former pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, had ejected fan Eddie Velez from the gym.

    Jester said Velez, the father of a Chamblee player, was harassing the referees.

    As Velez was leaving the gym, the video shows him walking by Jester and then Jester's body suddenly jerks.

    Jester said Velez pushed him in the shoulder and called him a punk.

    The video shows Jester punching Velez and Velez then attempts to punch Jester in return, but officials restrain him.

    On the video a player is seen rushing to intervene in the scuffle. Students say it was the daughter of Velez coming to her father's defense.

    Velez is then recorded being handcuffed and led from the gym. But he wasn't arrested.

    A DeKalb County Schools representative told Channel 2's Tom Jones the principal decided not to have Velez arrested because school public safety officers wouldn't arrest Jester.

    Jester said the principal shouldn't have had a say in the matter.

    Jester didn't let it rest. He applied for an arrest warrant and a judge, after listening to both sides on the incident, had Velez arrested on a simple battery charge.

    Chamblee students said the fight had been the talk of the school.

    "I've never seen a ref go after a parent of all the years I've been here," student Kelly Strychalski said.

    Some students thought the referee was wrong to retaliate and should be accustomed to abuse from fans.

    "He should have just backed away and just not have fought on," student Kenzie Thompson said.

    They softened their stance when asked if it's OK for a fan to physically abuse or touch a referee.

    "I guess it is both of their faults in the end, but it was a little uncalled for," Strychalski concluded.

    The attorney for Velez said he did nothing wrong and will plead not guilty.


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