Crime & Courts

Former Wichita police captain who pushed ref loses license, lacks ‘good moral character’

A former Wichita police captain who was caught on video shoving a girl referee during a youth basketball game has lost his license to be a law enforcement officer, even after one of his two convictions was overturned.

The certification of Kevin Mears was revoked nearly a year after his employment ended with the Wichita Police Department. Mears was previously the captain over the Patrol East bureau before he was convicted of a crime in Butler County last year.

The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training ordered his certification revoked June 20, according to the KSCPOST documents released this week.

“(Mears’s) conduct demonstrates a lack of good moral character sufficient to warrant the public trust in him as a police officer or law enforcement officer,” commissioners wrote in the revocation order.

Mears was found guilty last summer of misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct after a January 2018 incident in Augusta was recorded. He was sentenced in Augusta Municipal Court to serve six months probation and pay a $450 fine.

He appealed the municipal court case to Butler County District Court, where he was found not guilty of battery. He was found guilty of disorderly conduct.

A video of the Jan. 13, 2018, incident was posted to Facebook by Craig Carlson.

“This happened today in Augusta Ks... this guy is a Wichita PD officer, who assaulted a 17yr old basketball official during a 5/6th grade game,” Carlson wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “This is exactly why there is a shortage of officials in sports. This is unacceptable and should be seen and shared.”

The man in the video is seen shoving the referee and taking a boy from one of the teams off the court. He says, “Get out of my way,” as he leaves the court.

The revocation order states that Mears was off-duty and attending his son’s basketball game. He “became upset about how the referees were calling the game,” and after his son was hurt during the game, he “used profanity and proceeded onto the court, without being summoned, to retrieve his son.”

A 17-year-old referee blew her whistle to call a technical foul on Mears for being on the court. Mears then pushed the girl and cursed at referees, a coach on the opposing teams and the crowd before he “flipped off the crowd on his way out of the gym,” the order states.

Police confirmed three days after the incident that the man in the video was an off-duty captain and that he was placed on paid administrative leave. Police did not identify Mears until Jan. 22 after he had been criminally charged and placed on unpaid leave.

Mears’s employment with the department ended in August 2018. At the time, a police spokesman declined to say if he was fired or resigned. Police on Thursday declined to comment on the revocation order.

Attempts to contact Mears for comment were unsuccessful.

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