Northwest Minnesota man accused of assaulting referee during high school basketball game

According to court records, the man threw a bag of popcorn at the referee after a foul was called, was ejected from the gym, and then went onto the court and ripped the ref's whistle off his neck.

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DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Phillip Shawn Lokken, 45, of Detroit Lakes has been charged in Becker County District Court with misdemeanor fifth-degree assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

According to court records, the incident occurred Jan. 13 at the elementary school in Audubon, during a high school basketball game between Lake Park-Audubon and Winger-Erskine-McIntosh (Win-E-Mac).

Lokken threw a bag of popcorn at a referee after a foul was called on one of the Win-E-Mac players towards the end of the game. The referee ejected Lokken from the gymnasium, and Lokken flipped him off with both middle fingers and loudly swore at him. Lokken came down off the stands and approached the referee on the court, grabbed his whistle and shirt, and tore his whistle off his lanyard.

Two other referees witnessed it, and the incident was caught on school video.The referee said that he had made another prior call which caused Lokken to be upset and began to yell at him. The referee also said that he was startled when Lokken approached him on the court, and thought Lokken was going to hit him.

He also said that when Lokken ripped off his whistle, the lanyard tightened around his neck. A deputy later made contact with Lokken, who told him that the referee was making “bulls**t calls all night,” and that he had had enough of it.


On March 2, a summons was issued, and Lokken was ordered to attend a remote arraignment April 28 before Becker County District Judge Michael Fritz.

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