UPDATE (1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17): Mingo County Sheriff Joe Smith tells 13 News Monday night he was on the basketball court 5 or 6 minutes before the incident happened. He says he did make himself known as the sheriff to all officials and coaches on the floor.
He claims he was asked by the principal of Tug Valley High School if he would stand in front of their pep section as the tension between the fans escalated.
He says the situation did start to calm down, but that’s when a student on the Tug Valley side of the gym and a fan on the Logan County side started to yell and then walked toward each other.
He then ejected the Tug Valley student and was going over to remove the Logan County fan, when he says Napier caught him off guard and shoved him.
Sheriff Smith also says he has no opinion on where this court case will take place.
MINGO COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Taylor Napier from Logan County is charged with battery and disorderly conduct after allegedly pushing Mingo County Sheriff Joe Smith.
According to the criminal Complaint, Mingo County Sheriff Joe Smith says Napier pushed him while he was trying to end a fight between fans at a Tug Valley High School and Logan County High School Basketball game on Jan. 7, 2023.
However, Napier claims her actions were in self-defense.
In a video from D&D Sports Network, Sheriff Smith can be seen walking around the gym and eventually moving from the Tug Valley side to the Logan County side.
As Smith approached the Logan County side, Napier can be seen going towards him and pushing him.
According to the criminal complaint, Smith, who was in street clothes, and another officer were attempting to calm an argument that started between a student from Tug Valley High School and a Logan County fan.
13 News spoke with Napier after the incident and she says that she didn’t know Smith was the sheriff since he was not wearing a uniform.
Thinking he was an upset fan coming to confront the Logan County fan behind her, Napier says she acted quickly trying to prevent what she thought was a violent situation.
“I seen him coming across the gym, pointing his finger and coming pretty fast. I thought he was going toward the other fan, but as I said, I was two steps below on the bleachers and I thought ‘I’m going to have to stop him before he gets ahold of her.'” Napier said.
Napier turned herself in once she was aware of the charges against her.
According to her attorney Rob Kuenzel, a court date has not been set yet and they are requesting the case be moved to an out-of-county courtroom. There’s no word yet on if that request has been approved.
13 News has reached out to Sheriff Joe Smith for further comment on this situation but has not heard back yet.