Minneapolis man accused of attacking soccer coach after game

A Minneapolis man is accused of attacking a fill-in soccer coach following a game last month at Armatage Park.

Alexis Ruiz Benitez is charged with simple robbery for the attack in September at the park off Penn Avenue South between 56th and 58th Street.

According to the criminal complaint, the coach, who is a park board employee and drove several players to the game, was filling in as a youth soccer coach on September 15.

Police say, during the game, a referee asked a 15-year-old player to remove a necklace he had on. Police say the player gave the necklace to the coach. But after the game, the player claimed that he had given the coach two necklaces.

When the coach said he was only given one necklace and emptied his pockets to show he didn't have the other necklace, police say the player became upset and left the soccer field.

The charges state that after the argument, the coach took time to check the soccer field to see if the necklace had been dropped. About 20 minutes later, police say the player and three men returned to the field.

Police say the three adults then confronted the fill-in coach.

In the charges, officers write: "The group [of adults] told Victim to empty his pockets. Victim refused and took out his cell phone to call 911. Suspect 1 then punched Victim in the face with a closed fist and attempted to take Victim’s cell phone from his hand. Suspect 2 went behind Victim and put him in a chokehold. One of the suspects then grabbed the Park Board van key off a lanyard that Victim had across his neck and took it. The group then left the area."

The coach suffered only a small cut as a result of the attack but had to wait hours for a spare van key to be brought to the field so he could bring other children home.

Using a photo lineup, police say the coach was able to later identify Ruiz Benitez as the person who punched him.

Ruiz Benitez is currently not in police custody and police say he is also wanted on threats of violence charges in another case.