Downtown bar fights discussed by Council

By Frank Lewis -

An incident involving the outcome of a bar fight, which resulted in a short altercation between a police officer and a paramedic, made the social media scene with the posting of a video showing the entire encounter.

Now, Portsmouth City Council is discussing what to do since they said bar fights are a regular occurrence on the weekend.

“There was a lot of chatter on Facebook about the video of our police altercation and fight,” First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson said. “Since then, it has been corrected by a report from our police department. However, I know this is not my ward. It’s the Second Ward, but it is downtown. I keep hearing from businesses in that area that every Monday morning they have a major cleanup to do of the streets and parking lots. Trash from beer cans to beer bottles, which is a big problem. Vomit, blood at times, it seems to be getting out of hand.”

The area Johnson was referring to is the 800 block of Gallia Street. He asked Council if there is anything the city can do to combat the aftermath of the bar scene on the weekend.

“Is there anything we can do to at least ameliorate what is going on?” Johnson asked.

Portsmouth Mayor Jim Kalb asked for an explanation of the word “ameliorate” ( to make something bad or unsatisfactory better). After that was explained, Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen responded.

“I will forward it on to the police department and see what they can do,” Allen said. “Maybe we can do some extra enforcement out there.”

A man was knocked out in a fight in the 800 block of Gallia Street and while officers and EMTs were attempting to subdue him so they could give him medical attention, the leader of the paramedics asked a police officer to use the taser on him, which led to another paramedic to touch the officer on the shoulder, and an altercation ensued. The encounter did not last long, and the investigation concluded both people were operating within the scope of their knowledge of the situation.

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis