Employment future unclear for WPD Capt. convicted of battery, disorderly conduct

WICHITA, Kan. Update Wednesday, July 11

A Wichita Police captain is still on unpaid leave after he was convicted of battery and disorderly conduct for a January incident. Video from a youth basketball game in Augusta shows Capt. Kevin Mears push a teenage referee as he takes his son off the court. Mears can be heard yelling after the contact was made.

Mears worked out of the Patrol East Substation prior to being placed on leave. It's now unclear if he will be able to return to work.

According to Wichita Police Department policy, if an employee is convicted of a criminal offense, "his/her work status will again be reviewed by the Chief of Police and his/her chain of command."

If an employee is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving domestic violence, they're subject to termination. But the policy does not explain what happens to those convicted of other misdemeanors, like Mears.

According to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training (KSCPOST), certain misdemeanors constitute grounds for discipline, including battery and disorderly conduct. If an officer is convicted of those crimes, the commission also has the authority to suspend or revoke their certification.

It's unclear if any further disciplinary action will be taken in Mears' case. The police department is conducting an internal review.

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Update Tuesday, July 10

A judge finds a Wichita Police Department captain guilty of charges in connection with a disturbance at a youth basketball game in January. Video from the incident shows WPD Capt. Kevin Mears appearing to shove a teen referee.

Tuesday, the judge found Mears guilty of misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct. Mears is currently on unpaid leave from the police department.

Sentencing includes a $300 fine for battery, $150 for disorderly conduct and six months non-reporting probation.

Off camera, Mears' attorney tells Eyewitness News they plan to appeal the ruling.

The father of the referee involved in the incident issued the following statement following Tuesday's ruling in Augusta Municipal Court:

"We’re definitely glad it’s over. It’s unfortunate for everyone involved. We don’t hold a grudge against anyone, we’re just ready to put this behind us.”

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June 19
A ruling in the case involving a Wichita Police Department captain accused of shoving a teen referee during a youth basketball game in January is delayed until July 10.

According to a statement released by the Augusta city attorney after the incident, Kevin Mears was charged with battery, a Class B misdemeanor and disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor.

He was placed on unpaid administrative leave after the incident captured on video at a game in Augusta. The video shows Mears appear to shove a teenage referee before walking off the court with his injured son.

In court Tuesday, Mears and the 17-year-old referee he's accused of battering spoke.

In his testimony, Mears said what he did was self defense. He said his son had just had a cast removed from a broken arm and was injured again in the game. Mears went onto the court when the ref blew the whistle in his face. Mears said he motioned to put space between them. This is the apparent shove shown on the video.

Mears testified this was part of his law-enforcement training to put space between himself and a threat. He said he did not intend to make contact with the ref and he was just trying to get to his injured son.

He said he thought the refs were not calming the players down in what he called a rough game and that put his son in danger.

The referee said Mears yelled from the stands and came onto the court after his son told her he was okay and could play. She said Mears ignored her orders to leave and was shouting obscenities. She said he pushed her, causing her to lose balance.

The ref said she followed her training and Mears was not allowed to be on the court.

The judge in this case said he plans to review his notes and the video before making a ruling July 10.