The violence started when referee Octavio da Silva Catanhede Jordan, 20, issued a red card to player Josenir dos Santos Abreu, 31, during a match on June 30, the Public Safety Department of the northeast Brazilian state of Maranhao said.
When Abreu argued with Jordan, refusing to leave the pitch and insulting the referee, Jordan pulled out a knife and began stabbing Abreu multiple times on the field.
Abreu died on the way to the hospital, but Jordan didn't make it that far.
Spectators attacked Jordan, and according to witness reports, tied him up and stoned him. They then decapitated him, quartered him and stuck his head on a stake in the middle of the field.
Police chief Valter Costa said one 27-year-old man has been arrested and others are being questioned.
"We will identify and hold accountable all those involved," Costa said. "A crime will never justify another. Actions like this do not collaborate with the legality of a state law.”
Warning: The following video is extremely graphic.