1 tased, 4 arrested in bar break at Brown Bag
Tension between members of a downtown crowd and Anchorage Police officers resulted in one person being tased and four arrests early Sunday morning.
“At around 3 a.m. outside the Brown Bag Sandwich Co. on 535 W 3rd Avenue, there was a disturbance that police responded to in which there were altercations breaking out in a large crowd. Police blocked off 3rd and E Street and moved people back, giving several orders to disperse. Some slowly dispersed but several crowd members would not leave the area. As the situation progressed, some people in the crowd became aggressive towards our officers and others were actively encouraging this aggressive behavior from the crowd,” APD spokesperson Kendra Doshier wrote in an email to KTVA Sunday.
Roughly a dozen officers who appeared to be carrying batons formed what downtown resident and business owner Russ Reno referred to as a “riot line” to clear the street.
"I never thought the day would come I'd see something like this in Downtown Anchorage," said Reno.
He calls the police presence intimidating, but effective.
“One adult was tased for being physically aggressive and trying to fight our officers,” Doshier wrote.
That person was arrested and charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to Doshier, who said three other individuals were also arrested and now face charges related to the incident.
Reno, who lives in the Turnagain Arms condos next door to Brown Bag and owns the neighboring business Anchorage Downtown TourGroup, said this is the second weekend in a row he’s noticed a significant increase in the disturbance level during bar break.
KTVA has previously reported on neighbors' complaints involving Brown Bag's patrons. In 2016, Reno shared surveillance footage showing fights and frequent public urination happening outside the bar, in front of his business, and at the entrance to the condos.
Since then, Reno says the relationship between the block's tenants has improved, but he believes they're now facing a new, overwhelming issue.
"This is a new factor that we've not seen before," explained Reno. "I think the crowd has changed, I really do. I think there's a different crowd coming in there now and they have little or no regard for decency or the way we live work and play here in Downtown Anchorage."
Brown Bag owner Antoine McLeod attributes the incident to the onset of summer and warmer weather.
"Every summer this happens. Summer time rolls around and all of the businesses Downtown get busier, us included," said McLeod, "Now with it being warmer and brighter out, people are just hanging around longer."
What he believes has changed is the nature of APD's response.
"The police did a great job. I loved having that presence there. They're helping out with the bar break," said McLeod.
Doshier said more information regarding the identity of the individuals arrested will be available during regular office hours.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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