Things got ugly in the downtown bar districts around the 2 a.m. closing time on Saturday, with police responding to four incidents within an hour related to charges of disorderly conduct, simple assault, and larceny. Three of the incidents took place on Upper King Street, while a fourth took place on North Market Street.
The following narrative is taken from incident reports written by Charleston Police Department officers.
Things got started at 2:05 a.m., just after bar closing time, when a woman stepped out of a bar on Upper King just north of Reid Street. A man whom the woman described as a "former acquaintance" approached her on the sidewalk and asked to borrow her cell phone so he could call for a ride home. The woman handed the man her iPhone 5, and he "walked away with the phone," according to an incident report. The woman flagged down a police officer and gave him the acquaintance's name, but for the time being, the man got away.
At 2:10 a.m., a plainclothes cop was performing surveillance just a block south at the corner of King and Morris streets when he saw a man getting in an argument with a woman. The officer heard the man say, "Hang up the fucking phone or I will throw it." About two minutes into the argument, someone pulled up in a car to give the woman a ride, and the man grabbed the woman's arm and twisted it, according to the officer. The woman told the man to let her go, and then the officer walked over and said, "I am Detective Gill with the City of Charleston Police Department. It is time to go home and separate from the female party." The man reportedly replied, "Fuck you, nigger, I am not going anywhere." After the woman got in the vehicle and left, the officer says the man continued to argue and refused to leave the scene.
By 2:15 a.m., the officer had called in backup, and the man reportedly grabbed a metal bar that was part of an overhead scaffolding and said, "Fuck you, I am an MMA fighter. Let's see what you guys got." One officer pulled out his taser, turned it on, and pointed it at the man's hip, but before he could use it, the other officers were able to handcuff the man.
Things stayed quiet until 2:30 a.m., when a police officer on patrol around the Market heard a fight breaking out outside the Wild Wing Cafe at 36 N. Market St. When he got closer, he saw that a man was arguing with a bouncer who wasn't allowing him in the restaurant after closing time. The cop watched as the man walked toward the bouncer shouting profanities, and the bouncer held up his arms to block the doorway. When the man began punching the bouncer, several police officers and Wild Wing employees rushed to break up the fight. The bouncer was able to push the man off himself and onto the sidewalk, and an officer shouted at the man to stay down and place his hands behind his back. Instead, the incident report says, the man stood back up and punched an officer in the face when he tried to cuff him. The man kept struggling, so another officer tasered him. Police finally arrested him on an assault charge.
Meanwhile, back on upper King Street at 2:35 a.m., an officer watched as a man picked a fight with another man outside of Mercury Bar. The apparent instigator punched the other man, and they both fell to the ground. "I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath and about his person," the officer wrote in an incident report. The man who threw the punch was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct and booked at the Charleston County Detention Center.