HOUSTON - A former judge was arrested at Sunday's Astros game after allegedly hitting a Yankees fan at Minute Maid Park. The 21-year-old Yankees fan says he initially thought the man in front of him was joking when he told him to shut up and stop cheering until he says the man hit him in the face.
Fans who were there say James Warren Dinkins began yelling at the 21-year-old who was at the game with his mom.
"He started by saying, 'You're in the wrong section for that,' and the kid laughed it off like, 'I know,' and he said, 'No, I'm serious, you need to cut it out. The kid patted the man on the back and he and his mom apologized and tried to shake the man's hand but he refused," says Astros fan Lea Menchaca.
It wasn't long before Dinkins' harsh words allegedly turned physical.
"He reached back and slapped him on the face five times. It was very shocking to see," says Menchaca.
Dinkins was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.
Dinkins is actually a former Montgomery County Justice of the Peace who was indicted in 2012 for fraud for receiving federal disaster relief funds related to Hurricane Ike.
According to court records, a mental health evaluation has now been ordered for Dinkins, which is highly unusual.
"Traditionally at the misdemeanor level it’s not done regularly," explains Misdemeanor Division Chief Nathan Beedle of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
Some Astros season ticket holders say Dinkins has also verbally attacked others including a special needs teen.
"Next thing I noticed, the boy was sitting there in tears and it was kind of shocking to see," explains season ticket holder Jaime Zamora.
Zamora and several others have reached out to the Astros asking the organization to do something about Dinkins.
"I think this person should be banned from coming back as a season ticket holder. We all make an agreement when we sign our season ticket holder contract with the Astros that we’ll be responsible. We’ll treat people with respect," says Zamora.
"I have not seen an assault in the stands happen, which is why the allegation is so concerning. Us as a community, the Houston area, we’re better than any sort of fan altercation," adds Beedle.
I reached out to the Astros. The organization is not making a public comment.
The 21-year-old and his mom ended up leaving in the 9th inning before the game was over.
As for 73-year-old Judge Dinkins, he worked in Montgomery County from 1972 to 1990.
Now he faces a $4,000 fine or up to a year in jail if found guilty of assault. He's due in court Monday.