Wisconsin man arrested in Snowmass bar fight
The Aspen Times
Snowmass Village police arrested a Wisconsin man Monday and charged him with assaulting a local man at a bar last week.
Brandon Hines, 20, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was cooperative but declined to speak to officers about the incident when they spoke with him Monday morning, said Brian Olson, Snowmass Village police chief. Hines was charged with misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.
Police released a video surveillance photo on Sunday of Hines and two other men with him during the bar fight and received a call Monday morning from a person who worked at a Snowmass Village condominium complex reporting the three men to be staying there, Olson said.
Police knocked on the condo door and found the three men inside preparing to check out, he said. All three declined to speak to police on the advice of a lawyer, Olson said.
“The three have chosen not to give us their side of the story,” he said.
The incident occurred just before midnight Thursday at Zane’s Tavern in Snowmass Village after an altercation between Hines, the victim, Jim Andre, and other men in the bar, Olson said. At one point, video shows Hines jump off his bar stool and throw a right hook punch that connects with the side of Andre’s face, he said. Andre then fell to the ground and hit his head on the floor.
Andre, 63, was first transported to Aspen Valley Hospital and later airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. Police have not been able to interview Andre, Olson said, adding that he heard Andre was in intensive care with a skull fracture.
A St. Mary’s spokesperson did not call back with Andre’s condition Monday.
Video shows the situation escalating between Hines, his two friends and others sitting at the bar during a 10-minute period leading up to the punch. At one point, Hines intentionally knocked over the drink of a man sitting next to him, then flipped the man’s ball cap off his head, Olson said.
That man gets up from the bar and steps back into the bar area before Andre inserts himself into the conversation and begins engaging Hines and his two friends, he said. Not long after, Hines jumps out of his seat and throws the punch.
One of Hines’ friends was standing between Hines and Andre when the punch was thrown, so Olson said he believes Andre probably didn’t see the punch coming. Andre did not throw a punch, he said.
Some of the people in the bar at the time told police a racial slur may have been leveled during the situation, Olson said. Hines, who is black, declined to say whether that occurred, he said.
Patrons at the bar also declined to provide more details about that portion of the altercation, so Olson said he doesn’t think the racial claim is credible.
“No one is willing to tell us what happened,” Olson said. “Suddenly, [the bar patrons] have nothing to say. They can’t tell us a thing.
“I’m just not going to hang my hat on [the racial allegations]. I needed to hear it from [Hines and his friends].”
Police plan to go back and review the video footage to see if Hines was drinking alcohol now that they know he’s underage, Olson said. However, a bartender working that night said the men presented proper identification, and Olson said he has no plans to cite the bar.
Attempts to reach Zane’s representatives Monday were not successful.
Hines is due to appear in Pitkin County Court on June 6.