Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Brawl sends five people to jail
Hat insults, gay slur leads to punches, police say

Three tourists from Pennsylvania and two local men were all arrested at about 2 a.m. Monday after police say they drunkenly brawled outside the bars in the 200 block of Duval Street.

All five were arrested on the misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for fighting in public and jailed after police officers interviewed the witnesses and the brawlers.

The fight began outside Rick's Bar, 202 Duval St., and continued down the block until the supposed victim, the 33-year-old local, took off running from the four, police reported.

Key West police arrived to see four men and one woman pushing each other and screaming outside Coyote Ugly, 218 Duval St., where the bar's manager said she stopped four of the fighters from entering as they were chasing down their lone target, the 33-year-old Key Wester, who said he only retaliated after he was struck in the face.

The fracas started when a group of four people began making fun of a woman's hat as she walked on Duval Street with her friend, the 33-year-old local man.

The 33-year-old's friend told police that hat insults set off an argument that led to a gay slur, which led to the first punch.

The band of four consisted of a 34-year-old Key West man and his friends, 34-year-old and 23-year-old brothers in town from Pennsylvania and their 36-year-old sister who was also visiting the island.

When the two Key West men began fighting after the hat rumpus, the sister jumped in between them, taking two punches to her face, police said.

All her two brothers saw was a stranger hitting their sister, they said later. They raced to her defense when they saw her fall to the ground and joined in the brawling, police said.

The 33-year-old local said he was punched and kicked while on the ground by the group until he managed to get up and run away, police reported. He "retreated into Coyote Ugly and remained there until we arrived on the scene," police wrote.

The siblings and their friend took turns trying to push their way into Coyote Ugly by shoving the manager, a 42-year-old Key West woman, who made sure the brawlers didn't continue their fighting inside her club.

After the manager repeatedly told one of the gang of four that he could not enter, he pushed her and the other four followed suit, police said.

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