Men Arrested Following Fight at Keg & Cork in Casper
Two people were arrested Saturday after what was evidently a busy evening at the Keg & Cork.
Benjamin Gabriel Ledford was taken into custody on charges of public intoxication and assault and battery. Patrick Joseph Whittle was arrested later in the evening for disturbing the peace.
Court documents say two Casper police officers went to the Keg & Cork at about 7:30 p.m. for a report of a heavily-intoxicated man who had been causing problems and refused to leave when asked by management.
Officers arrived to find the drunk man in question had made arrangements for a sober ride and left the area without any fuss shortly after police showed up.
But, since the place was awfully crowded following the chili cook-off at the Casper Events Center earlier that day, the two officers were asked to stay for a while to demonstrate a police presence due to several issues at the bar that night. Officers stood in front of the building near the parking lot.
Suddenly, one officer saw a man in the entryway punch another man in the head. The men reportedly began fighting until officers and folks at the bar were able to pull them apart.
The man who had been punched lost his balance and fell head-first into the corner of the wall by the front door, splitting his forehead open.
An officer called for backup and medical personnel.
Officers spoke to Ledford, who they identified as having been the other man involved in the fight. Officers sat Ledford on the curb due to his "obviously agitated demeanor" and saw that he "exhibited slurred speech, had bloodshot, glassy eyes and had the strong distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and about his person," court documents say.
Police asked Ledford what happened in the doorway. Court documents say Ledford, "through his furious anger," could only tell them, "that guy is a f---ing d-----bag and I wasn't gonna listen to his s--- talking so I kicked his a--, go ahead and take me to jail."
When asked to clarify, Ledford reportedly said he had never met the man he allegedly punched but said the man had been standing in the entryway "talking s---, running his mouth and being an a------ to everyone who came in the bar."
Ledford added that when he entered, the man randomly called him "a homosexual," which upset Ledford and prompted a brief, heated verbal exchange.
According to the affidavit, Ledford said he told the man he "should stop running his mouth being that he's a 40-year-old gray-haired b----." Ledford then allegedly hit the man.
Ledford took a breathalyzer test and blew a .155, the affidavit says. He was arrested.
Another affidavit says a third officer arrived at about 8:15 p.m. and found a large crowd had formed, interrupting the investigation.
The "large mob" reportedly outnumbered officers nearly three-to-one outside the south entrance. Several officers were in the middle of the gathering trying to keep the peace and disperse the group.
At that point, an officer reportedly saw Whittle begin to argue with another man in the crowd. Several people grabbed Whittle by the arms and pulled him away, trying to defuse the situation.
Whittle began pushing back, the affidavit says, and tried to make his way back towards the mob. An officer shouted at Whittle to back off and leave. Whittle, "still enthralled with what appeared to be an alcohol-induced anger," didn't acknowledge the officer's command.
The officer used his K-9 partner Patrick to gain compliance, according to the affidavit. The officer yelled at Whittle to get down on the ground or "he would get bit," and Whittle reportedly complied on the third command.
As officers handcuffed Whittle, the crowd turned its attention to them. Another officer had to use verbal commands and the help of K-9 Patrick again to disperse the crowd.
Officers reportedly had several different interactions with Whittle before his arrest as he allegedly tried to instigating a fight with other patrons. After he was taken into custody and removed from the scene, the crowd reportedly dispersed without further problems.
Casper police responded to a total of three calls at the Keg & Cork on Saturday leading up to Whittle's arrest.