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Albany Times Union
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Albany, New York
Three arrested after Albany bar fight
Police say ejected patron began fight by putting bouncer in a headlock

Three people were arrested after a scuffle early Sunday morning involving the trio, bar bouncers and Albany police.

John Haffner, a 22-year-old Troy man, was at the Pearl Street Pub around 3:20 a.m. Sunday when he was asked to leave for violating its dress code, according to Albany Police spokesman James Miller.

"A bouncer started to escort him out, so he put the bouncer in a headlock," Miller said.

Another bouncer came to help. But Justin Sowalsky, a 24-year-old Latham man, tackled him, Miller said. Albany Police officers on North Pearl Street near Steuben Street then moved to intervene, Miller said.

As they did, 23-year-old Natasha Clark of Troy allegedly punched one of the officers in the face, Miller said. The unrest continued; 10 officers eventually responded to the bar, Miller said.

He said Clark was charged with second-degree assault, and that Haffner and Sowalsky were charged with third-degree assault. All three were also charged with resisting arrest and arraigned later Sunday morning.

In a statement issued later Sunday, Pearl Street Pub proprietors Chris Pratt and John DeJohn said they were "distressed" by the incident.

"Our certified security personnel and record of safety are vital to our business success. We believe that PSP personnel on duty conducted themselves in an appropriate manner, and therefore have not been charged with any criminal offense," they said. "We would like to see the patrons arrested by the Albany Police prosecuted in accordance with the law. We see this incident as nothing more than misconduct by a few of PSP patrons who stand out as the exception, and we regret the altercation has reached this magnitude."

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