As I was recovering from a blog-free week this weekend, folks in Lawrence, Massachusetts, were gearing up and creating work for various defense attorneys. In fact, according to the police, over 100 people were involved in the resulting melee.
The brawl took place in a Lawrence nightclub, Club Rio, during the wee hours on Saturday. By the time it was under control, several were injured, arrested or both. Dozens of people were injured, but medics who checked them said none of the injuries were serious enough to require hospitalization
Fourteen people now face criminal charges from the event. While the fight apparently began between a few people, more than 100 folks were participating by its end by throwing punches, kicking each other, smashing bottles and hurling chairs.
In fact, the fight was so big that Lawrence Police Chief John Romero says that every available officer had to respond to the fight, which they described as one of the most violent melees they have witnessed. It remained under investigation Sunday.
Not all responding officers remained unscathed. For example, one officer received a compound fracture to his right index finger during the altercation, and security officers were also injured. One such security officer was attacked by multiple individuals and was bleeding from the head, according to the police report.
One officer said he had to use his baton and pepper spray to assist patrons who were being “savagely beaten.” His report said at times, there were groups of two or three people ganging up on one person, and people kicking individuals who were on the ground.
“The situation was extremely volatile and could have resulted in bodily injury or deaths,” reads the report. “The club was completely out of control, even as the number of police officers on scene reached double digits.”
One gentleman from Brockton tried to assault the officer from behind when a fellow police officer stopped him. Then, the patron grabbed the second officer by the leg, bringing him down to the ground. After other officers joined the rescue attempt, said gentleman was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest.
Police Chief John Romero said fights often break out at the different night spots around the city, but nothing of this magnitude.
“Every cruiser around the city and officers in the station had to assist with this fight,” said Romero, adding that this could have been a serious issue if there had been other emergencies going on in the city at the same time.
“The issue for us is on Friday and Saturday, this is a different city,” Romero said. “And the answer isn’t putting more police on duty, it is to get the clubs to comply and put procedures in place to make sure incidents like this don’t happen.”
All 14 people who were arrested showed signs of being intoxicated, according to the police report. Paramedics were called to the scene to treat anyone injured in the brawl.
Attorney Sam’s Take:
Okay…I’m sorry I was not around Friday to give my usual “Have a great, safe and LAW ABIDING weekend“. To any regular readers who were therefore confused at the site of Saturday’s melee as to how to handle the fight, I apologize.
Seriously, though, we have discussed various such events, although not of this magnitude.
Particularly when alcohol is involved, people tend to see strength in numbers. In fact, there are many sociological studies which indicate that people often feel free to do something under the assumed anonymity of a crowd that they would never do on their own.
While this might be one such situation, said anonymity does not really exist in the aftermath of the event. People can get hurt and even killed. Further, they often get arrested.
As you saw with the rather rambunctious alleged police-attacker above, there are various criminal charges that can result from such a brawl. These charges often include felonies such as assault with a dangerous weapon. Depending on how the assault occurs, said charge can also be moved up to assault with intent to kill.
“But Sam, if over one hundred people were involved in the fight, and only 14 were arrested…that means that everyone else got off “scot-free”, right?
As law enforcement has indicated that the investigation is continuing, we do not know how many people are soon to receive summonses or even be arrested based on statements by those who were arrested or even potential surveillance video-tape sightings of individuals.
On the other hand, the prosecution of these individuals is likely to be tricky. It was a chaotic scene. How reliable are identifications of who did what to whom? Might there be accusations by defense attorneys that their innocent client was a mere victim of the assaults, but arrested because the police were arresting anyone they could successfully grab?
There is nothing, yet, to suggest that people went to this club looking for a fight. Perhaps it was your neighbor, Rocco, who just happened to be in attendance when fists, feet and debris began flying.
Maybe it was you and your involuntary invitation to the criminal justice halls is going into the mail as you read this posting.
Being at the wrong place at the wrong time can happen to anyone. If you or a loved one find yourselves suddenly confronted by the Commonwealth’s finger of accusation, you want an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise and represent you.
Want that person to be me? Feel free to call me at 617-492-3000 to set up an appointment.
In the meantime, just in case, let’s have a great, safe and LAW-ABIDING week, ok?
For the original story upon which today’s blog is based, please turn to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/04/25/more_than_100_involved_in_mass_nightclub_brawl/ and http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x1687723386/14-arrested-in-out-of-control-nightclub-melee