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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bakersfield City Attorney’s office on Wednesday released video footage allegedly showing City Manager Alan Tandy striking Jonathan Hudson, general manager of the Minter Field Airport District in Shafter, with his hockey stick after a game.
Tandy, who remains on active duty at the city, has been under investigation by the Kern County District Attorney’s office for an alleged assault since Monday.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pafford said only that the department’s investigation is ongoing.
The five brief clips were released in response to a California Public Records Act request by The Californian and depict the aftermath of a 3:45 p.m. game Sunday between two local amateur adult teams, the Blues and the Bears.
Filmed by overhead cameras at the San Joaquin Valley Community Hospital Ice Center in downtown Bakersfield, the clips began with traditional handshakes on the ice between opposing players after a game the highly-ranked Bears lost 7-1.
Afterward, players began to leave the ice, but several from both teams skated off to the right of the camera, which did not have an audio feed.
A few seconds later, as a referee looked on, a player from the Blues appeared to shove a player from the Bears — and then be drawn into the center of the gathering group.
As this happened, a Blues player on the left in the No. 7 jersey, identified as Tandy by an eyewitness, raised his hockey stick and swung it down through the group — though it’s not clear if the stick made contact with any players.
The player with the stick then lost his balance, fell to the ice and was helped up as members of the group skated off the ice.
Bakersfield Solid Waste Superintendent Sal Moretti, who played right wing for the Blues, said he was in the group and felt compelled to respond to Hudson calling the Blues players cowards.
Moretti said he began a discussion on the ice with Hudson and was joined by Assistant to the City Manager Chris Huot as the group gathered.
Hudson confirmed he had a discussion with a Blues team member on the ice after the game but declined to comment on whether he called anyone a coward.
“The video’s pretty clear. I was having a discussion and one of their team members took offense to the discussion and pushed me back. It’s pretty clear,” said Hudson, who declined to identify that player.
Huot did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Moretti, Huot put his hand on Hudson’s chest to hold Hudson back, and then Hudson grabbed Huot’s face mask and yanked his head down.
Hudson declined to comment on whether he grabbed Huot’s face mask.
But as the discussion continued, Hudson said Tandy hit him in the head with his stick.
“Alan hits me in the back of the head from behind,” Hudson said, describing Tandy as being behind him and to his right on the ice when the alleged attack occurred.
Hudson declined to discuss the extent of his injuries but confirmed he visited an urgent care facility, and later went to a hospital where he underwent a CT scan.
Moretti identified Tandy as the player wearing the No. 7 jersey in the video clip, swinging his stick downward with both hands, and falling on the ice after doing so. He said Tandy played left wing.
Yet Moretti said he was facing Hudson during the entire confrontation and he doesn’t believe Tandy’s stick connected.
“I was looking at him the whole time there was no (contact),” Moretti said, referring to Hudson. “I never saw a stick strike him on the head ... .”
Reached on his cell phone, Tandy declined to comment.
Moretti described Tandy — his boss — as a dedicated fan but a less-than-talented player.
“He’s working hard to stay on his feet. He loves the game, but he’s not that good,” Moretti said. “I just don’t think you can single out Alan when it comes to use of the stick. He uses his stick to hold himself up more than anything else.”
Hudson questioned Moretti’s motivation.
“Do you actually expect a subordinate of Alan Tandy to say anything other than good things about Alan?” Hudson asked.
Moretti said he found the incident’s aftermath “embarrassing,” but wanted to make sure the entire story was heard.
“I thought it was embarrassing for it to become a criminal complaint, but at the same time I see everyone else is telling a story that is outrageous,” Moretti said. “I’m going to tell you the whole story that I know.”
Hudson declined to comment when asked whether he intends to file a lawsuit against Tandy or the city of Bakersfield.
At the recommendation Monday of Bakersfield City Attorney Ginny Gennaro, Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson handed a police investigation into the incident over to the District Attorney’s office to avoid a conflict of interest.
As the city’s highest-ranking hired official, Tandy is the boss of Huot, Moretti and Williamson.
According to the terms of his contract with the city, Tandy is an at-will employee and can be dismissed any time at the discretion of his seven bosses, the members of the Bakersfield City Council.
Complicating matters, Tandy is in the midst of his annual performance evaluation by the council, which it began in closed session June 4 and will continue at its June 25 meeting.
In recent interviews, however, council members have indicated they want to wait until the district attorney’s investigation has been completed before making up their minds.
“I think since we are in a position where we’re doing his evaluation, it just muddies the water is all, but it’s kind of a separate issue at this point,” said Ward 2 Councilman Terry Maxwell. “I don’t think we have enough to go on at this point, but in the future that may change.”