More than 20 arrested in Hibbing street dance melee
Hibbing police Investigator Dale Wright said his city's annual summer street dance had been a lot of fun for the Iron Range during his 20 years in the department. But early Sunday morning the spillover led to a brawl with racial overtones and pot...
Hibbing police Investigator Dale Wright said his city's annual summer street dance had been a lot of fun for the Iron Range during his 20 years in the department. But early Sunday morning the spillover led to a brawl with racial overtones and potential criminal charges against five people.
"It's supposed to be a fun family event and it's been a great event for our city," Wright said of this year's Hibbing Jubilee Street Dance. "It brings people from outside our city. There's a parade, stock car races in the evening hours, three bands playing. This incident just got out of control. I haven't seen anything this serious in all the years I've been working the street dance."
All 28 Hibbing police officers were assigned to work Saturday and a police report indicated that 13 officers in uniform and plain clothes were at the dance. When it ended, a call came in of an altercation in a parking lot on the 1900 block of Fourth Avenue East.
Responding officers found a 52-year-old Hibbing man bleeding heavily from a head injury just after 1 a.m. Sunday, about a half-block off the Howard Street dance site.
"According to him, they were calling him the 'N-word,' and he ended up punching one of the guys and eventually more people got involved and it pretty much really got out of control," Wright said. "They ended up attacking him and knocking him unconscious. They used their fists and their feet."
Wright said the alleged victim, the only black man in the brawl, has been released from the hospital.
During the fracas, the man apparently pulled a pocket knife with a 2-inch blade and stabbed two people, Wright said. The investigator said there could be formal charges against as many as five people. He said in some instances it was difficult to determine who was the victim and who was the assailant. He said that while the alleged victim himself could face criminal charges, he will also recommend to the St. Louis County Attorney's Office that at least two suspects be charged with fourth-degree assault because it appeared their assault was motivated by bias because of the victim's color.
The News Tribune generally doesn't name suspects until they have been formally charged in court. Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Jeffrey Vlatkovich said the police reports had not yet been forwarded to his office and formal charges were not expected to be filed on Tuesday.
Hibbing police said 16 other arrests were made during the street dance, including warrant arrests, arrests for harassment/ restraining order violations, drug and drug paraphernalia violations, other assaults and alcohol-related offenses.