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23 officers break up brawl at downtown motel

Nearly two dozen Fargo police officers were called to break up a brawl involving about 40 people during a dance Saturday night at a downtown Fargo motel, police said.

Graphic: HoJo location in downtown Fargo

Nearly two dozen Fargo police officers were called to break up a brawl involving about 40 people during a dance Saturday night at a downtown Fargo motel, police said.

One man was arrested for disorderly conduct and charges are pending against two others in connection with the fight reported at 11:58 p.m. at the Howard Johnson Inn, 301 3rd Ave. N., police Sgt. Jeff Skuza said.

The first officers on the scene observed 30 to 40 people fighting in a banquet room, including some throwing metal chairs, Skuza said. The officers weren't comfortable entering the room without backup and asked for assistance from all available officers, he said. A total of 23 officers responded.

"We had to assemble enough personnel to go in and make the entry safely," Skuza said.

Police received a variety of accounts of what led to the melee, but it apparently began when a hired security guard was trying to escort a man out of the dance "and people began throwing bottles and chairs at him," Skuza said.

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Bouncers from the motel's Sidestreet Grille & Pub tried unsuccessfully to restore order before police arrived, he said.

Officers estimated that about 40 people were actively fighting, and about 100 were involved in one way or another, Skuza said. No serious injuries were reported.

Police arrested Fikret Golubovic, 32, of Fargo on suspicion of misdemeanor disorderly conduct after he attempted to throw a chair, Skuza said.

"It certainly fit the definition of a riot, but they didn't have the elements to charge him with inciting it," Skuza said.

Golubovic was booked into the Cass County Jail and was released at 1:35 a.m. Sunday after posting $500 bond.

Misdemeanor charges of simple assault and disorderly conduct against the man being escorted out of the dance and another person involved in the fight will be forwarded to the city attorney's office for consideration, Skuza said.

Messages left with the motel's management were not returned Monday. Calls to a listing for Golubovic's home phone were not answered.

Golubovic was one of four people who pleaded guilty to criminal charges for their involvement in a June 2006 brawl at the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo. Golubovic pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He was fined $475 and received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation, which ended in November.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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