Local News

March 25, 2009

Baseball parent charged with battery

The parent of a youth baseball player was arrested Friday evening at Westside Middle School after allegedly striking one of his son’s coaches in the face three times, according to an incident report.

Jerry Leonard Morris, 36, of 209 Oak St. in Tunnel Hill, was charged by the sheriff’s office with battery and disorderly conduct during the incident at a practice session for the Dixie boys 13-14 year old league. Morris has a son on the team, according to the Whitfield County Parks and Recreation Department.

Morris “charged the baseball mound” because he was mad at assistant coach James McTaggart for moving Morris’ son to the outfield instead of the pitching mound, head coach Jared Webb states in the report.

Morris said to McTaggart, “I’m not going to put up with this s---” and, “This is bulls---”, according to Webb, who saw the confrontation. “Mr. Morris hit (McTaggart) in the mouth,” Webb said, explaining that he tried to pull Morris off McTaggart and told him to leave.

McTaggart told Webb that Morris struck him three times in the mouth. McTaggart also said Morris used vulgar language toward him “and at least 19 children under the age of 14 were present.”

Morris claimed he and McTaggart “got into a verbal argument and I hit him, but he hit me as well,” the report states. Webb told the investigating deputy he didn’t notice any visible marks on Morris, but saw a “visible red mark on Mr. McTaggart’s upper lip where Mr. Morris had punched him.” Webb said McTaggart “never laid a hand” on Morris while Morris was hitting McTaggart.

In the report, McTaggart is listed as 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. Morris is listed as 5 foot, 9 inches tall and weighing 195 pounds.

Morris was taken to the Whitfield County Jail and was released later Friday on a $1,500 bond. Phone numbers for Morris and McTaggart could not be found.

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