Burnsville basketball game fracas leads to assault charges for Minneapolis man

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 13, 2010 - 10:54 AM

Robin Johnson, accused of sucker-punching a boys' basketball commissioner and assaulting a parent who came to his aid, now faces four charges in Dakota County.

Robin Johnson

Photo: Dakota County Sheriff's Office,

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A man charged Friday with assaulting a Burnsville youth basketball commissioner -- and a parent who came to his aid -- had been heckling a sixth-grade player just before that, according to documents filed in Dakota County District Court.

Robin Johnson, 48, of Minneapolis, was charged with four crimes stemming from a dispute at the end of a basketball game at Burnsville High School on Feb. 13.

He's charged with first-degree assault and third-degree assault, which are felonies, as well as interfering with a 911 call and disorderly conduct, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.

"Gratuitous violence of this nature at a youth sporting event is shocking," Backstrom said.

The commissioner, Jeff Shand, 50, and witnesses told police that as Johnson quarreled a teen threw a basketball at Shand, hitting him in back of the head. When he turned to look, Johnson "sucker-punched" him, according to a criminal complaint.

"The next thing he recalled was that he was regaining consciousness and getting up off the gymnasium floor," the complaint says.

Shand suffered three cracked molars and had fragments of his teeth removed, but he did not have a broken jaw, as was initially believed.

The complaint, based on accounts from Shand, the other victim and two witnesses, alleges that toward the end of the game, a boy was about to shoot free throws when a witness saw Johnson yelling at him to make him miss. Shand told Johnson that he couldn't do that.

"[Johnson] yelled back that he could yell what he wanted, and continued to yell as the young man made his second free throw, which was the basket that won the game," the complaint says.

Shand walked toward Johnson, who was still yelling, and Johnson came onto the court and walked up until he and Shand were nose to nose, the complaint says.

"You guys are cheaters!" Johnson allegedly shouted.

Shand said he was calling the police. But as he pulled out his cell phone, a high school-age youth hurled the basketball that hit Shand, and Johnson allegedly punched him.

The father of a player jumped in to hold back Johnson, who kept trying to go after Shand. Johnson allegedly hit the father. He responded by kicking Johnson in the groin to stop him, then pinned him to the floor. Other adults helped restrain Johnson until police arrived.

On Thursday, Burnsville police arrested Johnson on a new allegation -- violating an order for protection -- after they found him at his former spouse's apartment on Greenhaven Drive near 150th Street.

The teen who threw the basketball will be charged with misdemeanor assault, Police would not disclose the identity of the juvenile.

Sam Griffiths, president of the Burnsville Athletic Club, said Johnson and members of his family have been banned from the club.

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017

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