Two men arrested after fight with off-duty officers
Two men were arrested last week after Edgartown police responded to a fight at the Wharf Pub that included off-duty Oak Bluffs police officers.
According to the police report, Edgartown police received a call at about 12:40 am on Thanksgiving reporting a disturbance at the pub.
Three officers responded. When they arrived at the downtown bar they met Jeff Voorhees, the Wharf manager, who said that a fight had already been ended. Ryan Welch, 29, of Tewksbury, who was outside the bar, told police that he had been in an altercation with another patron. According to the police report, Mr. Welch was ordered to go home and was led away by two women.
Minutes later, two men outside the bar began yelling, and Mr. Welch walked back to the bar. According to the report, officers ordered Mr. Welch to leave, but Mr. Welch ignored the order. Police handcuffed him and placed him in protective custody.
While officers were dealing with the incident on the street, they heard another disturbance break out inside the bar.
"Once inside there was lots of yelling and screaming, and it appeared a disturbance had resumed," the police report stated. "I looked down the bar and observed a male, later identified as Ryan Murtha [32, of Oak Bluffs], suddenly take a swing at another male, known to this officer as Dan Cassidy [of the Oak Bluffs police department]."
Officers quickly grabbed Mr. Murtha and placed him under arrested. He was charged with disorderly conduct.
Mr. Murtha told police that he had hit Mr. Cassidy because Mr. Cassidy had grabbed him by the throat. According to the report, officers saw no marks on Mr. Murtha's neck, but they advised him that he could pursue assault charges himself.
According to police, officer Cassidy was there with at least two other off-duty Oak Bluffs police officers. Paul Condlin, Edgartown police chief, said that no one else was charged in the fight because his officers did not witness anyone else becoming violent.
"If one of my officers had observed an off-duty officer take a swing at somebody, that person would have gone to jail," said Chief Condlin. "It's as simple as that. It doesn't matter who it is."
Lt. Timothy Williamson of the Oak Bluffs police department said that he had not received any complaints about off-duty Oak Bluffs officers, but he said that he and the chief would look into the matter.
"One of our officers is the victim of a crime," said Lieutenant Williamson. "He was assaulted. We haven't received any complaints about our officer's behavior, but we will still look into the incident. Even if they are just rumors, we will look into it, because we are held to a higher standard."