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Ped Mall fight club

BY REGINA ZILBERMINTS | MARCH 30, 2009 7:40 AM

Unknown assailants attacked unknown men in two incidents on the Pedestrian Mall during the early hours of March 27, authorities said.

But having two assault incidents downtown in one weekend is not that unusual, said Iowa City police Lt. Doug Hart, and officials are using a variety of tools to solve the cases.

“We will become very proactive in resolving these assaults,” he said.

In one case, six to 10 males allegedly assaulted a man near the Union Bar, 121 E. College St., at the intersection of Dubuque and College Streets around 2 a.m. According to Iowa City police, one alleged victim was knocked unconscious after running to the aid of a college-age male, who was being beaten up.

One of the men was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Mercy Hospital, police reports show.

The suspects allegedly involved were last seen running north on Dubuque Street, randomly punching other men as they ran by them, officers said.

Another man was attacked directly outside Union Bar around 1 a.m. after being kicked out of the establishment twice, authorities said.

After being evicted the second time, one of the people he was having problems with in the bar also left and hit him, knocking him to the ground, where he briefly lost consciousness, police said.

The victim had injuries to his mouth and was taken to the UI Hospitals and Clinics, officers said.

Assaults downtown have long been a part of downtown Iowa City, said Iowa City police Sgt. Troy Kelsay, and often, the atmosphere surrounding bar close contributes to fights.

“It’s disturbing to hear,” said UI junior Ruffin Tchakounte. “But if I respond by getting a group of people to walk [with], it’s kind of responding to fear.”

He said he would try to help the victim if no weapons were involved.

“It depends on the size of the guy and where we were,” said UI senior John Madden. “If it’s a ridiculously mismatched fight and the guy was really getting hurt, I might try to pull [the attacker] off.”

Madden said he usually walks to bars in large groups.

“I’d go for the nearest cop,” UI sophomore Matt Mills said. “You can find them pretty easily.”

Mills, who lives on East Washington Street, said it might be a good idea to hail a cab if a person feels unsafe walking alone.

“I know [assaults] happen,” Madden said. “It’s a reality in a college town when you’re mixing alcohol and testosterone.”


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