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Police Ticket Little League Coach While Celebrating Win

Last updated on Tuesday, June 5, 2012

(MARTINSVILLE) - Some parents of a little league team said a Martinsville police officer went too far after coaches were issued several citations for riding the team in the back of pickup trucks to get ice cream after winning a game.

Parents of the Artesian Little League team used smartphones to record video of Martinsville Officer John Richards issuing 12 citations for every child and adult riding without seatbelts.

"Even in the back of the pickup truck they are required to be in seat belts, no matter the type of vehicle it is, so there's your citations," Richards said in the video.

One of the parents questioned Richards' decision.

"How do you feel today? These kids just went an extra inning to win a ball game?" the parent asked in the video.

"I feel that I'm doing my job and possibly saving lives is how I feel," Richards said.

As part of Indiana's Operation Pull Over, Richards issued 10 of the 12 tickets to volunteer coach Troy Gill for the 10-year-old baseball player he had loaded into the back of his pickup truck.

"It's kind of tough to swallow, it really is," Gill said. "I feel that I'm the scapegoat here because it's gone on for years and years."

Parent Melissa Green sided with Gill.

"It's something that we've all done. I did it when I was a kid and so I'm a little disappointed that citations were given instead of maybe a warning," Green said.
"This league has been here since 1971, and it's never been an issue. I felt like there could have at least been a warning," parent Shane Colwell said.

The team was headed to celebrate the sweet taste of victory at a popular ice cream stand, but the moment was soon soured when they saw the flashing lights of Richards' cruiser.

Many of the children didn't know exactly what was taking place.

"What's a citation?" several children asked in the video.

Some parents said they would chip in to help pay the $300 fine, unless city leaders step in to dismiss the citations.

Mayor Phil Deckard said the decision is out of his hands.

"I cannot order that and I will not order that. Neither will the police chief, because that call would be by the prosecutor or the judge in the case," Deckard said.

The coach and parents are scheduled to appear in court next month to answer to the citations.

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