Five arrested, one sought after 'riot'
Grants Pass police have now arrested or cited five people accused of participating in a violent fracas downtown Friday night during First Friday Art Night.
They are still trying to identify a sixth suspect, described as a teenage boy.
Four people were initially held in custody, but all have been released from jail or juvenile detention. A fifth person, an injured 15-year-old boy, was cited at Three Rivers Medical Center and has not yet been arraigned.
Initially booked on charges of felony riot, Michael L. Sprouse, 23, and Breanna White, 21, were arraigned instead Monday on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct. Both have been released on their own recognizance.
A third man, 29-year-old Joshua Roxberg, turned himself in Monday and was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of disorderly conduct. He also has been released on his own recognizance.
The fracas occurred outside the downtown Dutch Bros. Coffee House when a 27-year-old man was repeatedly kicked and punched by group of people, allegedly after he made crude remarks to teenage girls. He was not injured and walked away after the pummeling.
First Friday draws hundreds of people downtown, and scores of people were out near the scene of the disturbance.
Prosecutors elected to charge the 15-year-old who was injured and another boy, 16, with felony riot. The older teen has already been arraigned and released. Riot is defined in Oregon law as five or more persons engaging in "tumultuous and violent conduct" that creates "a grave risk of causing public alarm."
Juvenile Department Director Jim Goodwin said his department would have liked to hold the 16-year-old longer, but that budget cuts have limited departmental resources. Two years ago the county closed its juvenile detention center and now rents three beds from Jackson County.
"We definitely would have recommended holding him," Goodwin said. "For a charge like that, we'll hold for a little bit longer and come up with a good release plan."
The disturbance was caught on video by at least one bystander. Police used the video to identify participants.
Responding to complaints that the man who was attacked deserved to be arrested for his conduct preceding the melee, deputy police chief Jim Hamilton said officers determined no crime had occurred.
"While he (the victim) may be saying things that are rude and maybe morally inappropriate ... that doesn't always rise to a criminal level," Hamilton said.
Hamilton also warned people against taking justice into their own hands.
"The worst thing that can happen when people take the law into their own hands is they can become the suspect or the arrestee," he said.