BROOK PARK, Ohio (WJW) – A new law is being proposed in one community that would protect sports officials and referees at sporting events within the city.
Ward 4 Councilman Richard Scott recently introduced legislation that would codify and penalize any physical confrontation with, or physical harm to, an official.
“My sons are umpires. So, when you are scheduling two umpires, it’s hard to fill the positions. I’m seeing things on TV, the reports of parents going after umpires, parents going after coaches, parents going after parents,” said Scott.
Under the proposed spectator conduct law, Scott said police would charge violators with disorderly conduct.
However, it is up to the prosecutor to determine the degree of misdemeanor.
“If the games are stopped for any reason, it’s automatic,” said Scott.
But not all council people agree with the proposal.
“I’m opposed to this legislation because it’s not necessary,” said councilman-at-large Brian Poindexter.
Poindexter said he believes the ordinance is too broad and creates the risk of arbitrary enforcement.
“What I don’t want is legislation that weaponizes an ordinance against people,” said Poindexter.
Now there is similar legislation at the state level, House Bill 139, that has yet to clear the house and move on to the Senate.
So, if the ordinance is passed in Brook Park, the city would set the benchmark for Ohio sports officials’ protection.
“We would let people know. There would be signage posted,” said Scott.
The legislation will have its third reading and vote at the Oct. 17 city council meeting.