OFFICER ATTACKED IN DOWNTOWN FIGHT

SAVANNAH, GA (April 15, 2013): Two Savannah men have been charged after a fight in a downtown restaurant and bar in which an officer was attacked Sunday morning.

Charles Howell, 22, of a Wilemere Drive address, and James Edward White, also 22, of a Staley Avenue address, were arrested after the incident at Taco Abaho on West Broughton Street about 2:15 a.m.

Howell was charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction by resisting and simple battery of an officer. White was charged with disorderly conduct, battery and obstruction by hindering.

The men were arrested when Downtown Precinct officers from the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department arrived to break up a large crowd and a fight in the street in front of Taco Abaho and were asked by restaurant staff to enter the restaurant to break up another one.

Once inside, the officers began pulling participants apart and ordering them to leave on behalf of the restaurant. Howell refused and was being escorted through the crowd up the stairs to the door when White screamed at officers, warning them not to touch his cousin.

White jumped on the back of the officer leading Howell away, pushing him to the floor and grabbing him around the neck. Other officers pulled him away, but not before one officer had to grab his own holstered gun to keep it from being taken away and another officer lost his police radio.

One man was arrested from the original incident on West Broughton Street and a weapon was found, but police have not connected the two.

Police had been called to the area multiple times over the weekend to deal with large crowds, including 1:19 a.m. Friday when they had to disperse more than 100 people who were outside awaiting entry into the small restaurant. Loud music was being played from a vehicle parked in front.

Police began ordering those outside the restaurant to disperse about the time heavy rains began that aided the process.

Metro officers continue to investigate the incidents.

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