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Officers injured in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio uproar

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Jul 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-06 11:36:28-04

Cincinnati, Ohio police said the beating of a bystander may have started the uproar Saturday that led to seven arrests at Fountain Square, a central part of the city's downtown area.

Seven revelers, including three juveniles, were arrested after police said a large crowd gathered at the square and became unruly. Cincinnati Police Captain Mike Neville told WCPO television station several different groups of people started fighting on the square shortly after 11 p.m. — just after a concert, the Reds game and Fourth of July fireworks.

Officers donned riot gear, flanked the streets around the square and stood side-by-side to move the crowd and apparently to protect themselves. Two officers and the bystander were injured, according to Neville.

The disturbance and associated police response comes as the city is in preparation mode to host Major League Baseball's All-Star Game weekend that will showcase the city and its baseball history and fandom to a national audience beginning next weekend.

Saturday night's incident came as the city and it's police department grapple with a 10-year spike in shootings, the fatal ambush of a beloved 27-year police veteran and a 90-day crime reduction plan that initially included new juvenile curfew centers and increased police presence in high-crime areas.

Police said the bystander in Saturday's incident suffered serious injuries, some internal, and was released from the hospital late Sunday.

Police confirmed the video below showing a bloody man on the ground -- which was viewed more than 280,000 times on Facebook by Sunday night -- was the man beaten in the incident.

Authorities have not said how many people were on the square at the time the fights erupted nor how many officers responded.

Things quickly escalated as officers tried to disperse the crowds. Witnesses, some of whom described the scene as a ''riot," said people in the crowd were setting off fireworks in trash cans on the square, some aimed at officers.

Jy Quynn Britten, 21, was arrested after CPD Central Business District officers said he punched an officer in the face. He was charged with obstructing official business and two counts of resisting arrest.

Britten appeared in court Monday morning, at which point his defense attorney argued his arrest was a case of mistaken identity.

"The officer didn't know who hit him, was asking around" his attorney argued, "Somebody said, 'I think (Britten) did it,' but he firmly denies that, says it was not him. He was misidentified in that."

But the prosecuting attorney said there was no doubt Britten struck an officer. "Your honor, he did punch a police officer, he did cause a laceration to the chin. After he did that, your honor, he then proceeded to run from the officers. He had to be tased... This was an absolute melee and the defendant made it worse."

The prosecution asked that the judge set a high bond for Britten. Bond was set Monday morning at $51,000.

In 2012, Britten was convicted for disorderly conduct after fighting at Taste of Cincinnati, which is held near and on Fountain Square. He was arrested again in 2013, this time for assault, when police said he punched a woman in the mouth following a verbal altercation, but the charges were dropped for want of prosecution.

In March 2015, Britten was charged with disorderly conduct. Police said he was causing alarm by using offensive language while intoxicated in Government Square, located only a block away from Fountain Square.

One witness, who would only give WCPO his first name, Louis, said he couldn't believe his eyes.

"The guy hit the police officer, his lip busted. Everybody started running, there were fireworks thrown toward the police officers. It was really wild,'' Louis said. "I don't know why it was like this, but it was crazy."

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