, Newburyport, MA

October 1, 2013

Football fan charged in police station melee

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — NEWBURYPORT — No doubt there were many North Reading fans who were unhappy with their football team’s 35-7 drubbing by the Clippers Friday night. But one allegedly drunken fan took things a bit too far — assaulting a Newburyport police officer inside the station and setting off a manhunt throughout the downtown.

Michael Wayne Robinson, 20, of 22 Lindor Road, North Reading, was arraigned yesterday at Newburyport District Court on charges of assault and battery of a police officer, two counts of resisting arrest, malicious destruction of property less than $250 and disorderly conduct.

The game went badly for North Reading. By halftime, the Clippers were up 28-7. By the time Robinson and his companions started causing trouble for police, the game was all but settled with Newburyport High winning handily.

According to the report of Newburyport police officer Gregory Whitney, he and Newburyport High School athletic director Robert Clark were forced to eject Robinson and three of his companions near the very end of Friday’s football game after their behavior began drawing unwelcome attention from other fans who complained they couldn’t see the field. By the time Whitney and Clark, now joined by officer Richard Rocco, escorted the quartet past the concession stands, one of Robinson’s friends, a juvenile male, became combative to the point where police arrested him on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Robinson and two others were ordered to leave the premises, which they did without further incident. But by the time Whitney had arrived at the station with his prisoner, Robinson and another juvenile male were seen entering the Green Street police station’s lobby. The third person ejected from the game was spotted by police outside on Green Street and placed in protective custody due to excessive alcohol consumption, according to Whitney’s report.

Robinson, who appeared too drunk to drive, was allowed to wait in the lobby until he was picked up by a friend. Around 10 p.m. Whitney went into the lobby to check on Robinson who appeared to be sleeping. When Whitney woke him up and asked when his ride would be arriving, Robinson appeared far more drunk and became belligerent, telling the officer to mind his business. Eventually, Robinson was told he would be placed in protective custody for drunkenness, which prompted him to make a break for the front door. Whitney was able to get in the way, but the two ended up crashing into a column and a glass display case, which survived the impact.

Robinson managed to elude Whitney’s grasp and made it out of the station. Police began swarming the downtown area, calling for assistance from Amesbury police officer Thomas Nichols and his K-9, Kaybar. After a few minutes, Kaybar was able to home in on Robinson and he was arrested behind 29 Green St. Robinson continued struggling with police and tried to head butt those who got too close. Police forced Robinson to the ground, where he was handcuffed and placed in a cruiser. He also threatened to break Kaybar’s neck, according to Whitney’s report.

In his report, Whitney said he sustained two burns on his knees, a laceration on his right elbow and his uniform was torn to the point where it had to be tossed. Whitney was seen by a reporter yesterday looking none the worse for wear, having recovered enough to resume his duties.

City Marshal Thomas Howard said allowing intoxicated people to sit inside the lobby while waiting for a ride home is a common occurrence.

Howard added that Robinson’s behavior around his hometown has been problematic, drawing the attention of law enforcement there.

“Certainly, they’re not welcome back here,” Howard said, referring to Robinson and the three others kicked out of Friday’s football game.

Judge Peter Doyle ordered Robinson, who is already facing charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery out of Woburn District Court, held on $500 bail. According to court records, Robinson posted bail and is due back in court Oct. 30 for a pretrial hearing.