Conflicting reports surface from weekend bar fight; race may have been factor

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14 April 2014

FORT KENT – Police have charged Kevin Phillips, 21, of Troy, N.Y., with aggravated assault after a fight in a local bar late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

According to Police Chief Kenneth Michaud, a fight broke out at BeeJay's Tavern at approximately 12 a.m. between Phillips and John Kelly of Fort Kent.

Police were handling another complaint at the time, and were unable to respond immediately to the call. The dispatcher did send an ambulance, said Michaud.
The ambulance took Kelly, who received a head injury, to the Northern Maine Medical Center for treatment.

There are conflicting statements from witnesses regarding the cause of the fight.

According to statements that Chief Michaud referenced during a phone interview on Monday afternoon, a person who was at the bar stated that Kelly called Phillips a racial slur. Phillips responded by hitting Kelly.

Michaud said that a witness also claimed Kelly voiced a death threat against black people in Fort Kent.

According to Kelly's statement, he claimed a man confronted him on the dance floor Friday night and told Kelly he disliked the way Kelly was dancing. Then someone, allegedly Phillips, struck Kelly on the head from behind. Kelly fell and split his head on the floor.

Later that night into early Saturday morning, a group of Kelly's friends drove a couple of vehicles to the UMFK campus to try to apprehend Phillips, said Michaud. 

The police blotter record during that time states that a UMFK staff member called at 1:33 a.m. and then again at 1:42 a.m. regarding people from “four vehicles in back of Crocker (Hall) trying to get in.”

The group was unable to enter the residence hall, and an officer, Dalen Boucher, went to the campus and ordered the people to leave.

Kelly came to the police station on Saturday and filed a report.

Police are still investigating, but have charged Phillips with aggravated assault. He will appear in court on June 17.

Comments

why weren't they arrested?

I can't believe Kelly's friends who were possibly trespassing and attempting a break in, were not arrested. I don't know if officer Boucher knew these guys were going after Phillips, but if he did, more than just asking them to leave should have happened. It sounded like these guys were willing to pull Phillips out and do something I don't even want to believe would happen in Fort Kent.

At the point these guys went after Phillips, the initial fight became much more than just that. And if Kelly did voice death threats against black people, Kelly should be arrested.

updating my comment on "why weren't they arrested"

Since I wrote this I found out the people left before the police got there, so the police didn't have the opportunity to arrest. I believe it was a very busy night all over for the police.

unequal charges on two different incidents but similar crimes

I find it very odd that Phillips gets charged with aggravated assault for hitting Kelly while Britney Wheaton was only charged with disorderly conduct after striking her victim with a beer bottle (see article "Police charge woman after assault at Fort Kent Party" 4/14/2014). Both victims were sent to the hospital.

So, why does Phillips get charged with a more serious charge, one that is a felony, while Wheaton gets essentially a slap on the hand?

Seems a little discriminatory (or rather a lot).