Pittsfield man gets year of probation in melee outside bar
PITTSFIELD -- A city man who police say threw large chunks of ice at police officers during a March melee outside a Wahconah Street bar has been sentenced to one year of probation.
Travis Altman, 26, of Brown Street, threw "jagged pieces of ice" the size of footballs at officers responding to the fracas, which erupted just after 1 a.m. March 15 outside of Johnny’s Beach Club, according to police and prosecutors.
The ice clods came within inches of hitting two members of the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Michael D’Angelo.
The trouble began as nearly 100 people streamed out of the bar, which was closed early by staff members. Intoxicated patrons began to clash with police, who were there to disperse the crowd, according to a probable cause report.
Altman was one of seven people charged in the incident.
The prosecutor said Altman ran from police and resisted arrest. After being taken into custody, he was found with a small amount of cocaine on him, he said.
On Tuesday, Altman appeared with his attorney, Robert M. Fuster Sr., in Central Berkshire District Court and pleaded guilty to five charges.
Judge Fredric D. Rutberg gave Altman a year of probation on a charge of resisting arrest and ordered him to pay a $150 fine on a charge of disorderly conduct as a subsequent offense. Altman must remain drug free during the probation period.
Two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of cocaine were continued without a finding of guilt for a year. If he stays out of trouble those charges will be dismissed. The sentence was in line with a joint recommendation between the DA’s office and the defense.
As part of the plea deal, a charge of interfering with a police officer was dismissed at the request of the prosecution.
In the wake of the incident, John Giardina, the owner of Johnny’s Beach Club, said he has taken steps to better screen late night bar patrons.
The bar was slapped with a seven-day liquor license suspension and was forced by the city’s Licensing Board to close by midnight for 60 days. Since June, the board has allowed the bar to stay open until 1 a.m.
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