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By Max Erikson Lou Marzeles
The Sentinel 

County Fair teens fight spilling into social media

 

November 1, 2017



A mostly unknown incident at the Klickitat County Fair this past summer is now circulating on social media in an attempt to sway opinion.

On Aug. 24 two teens were involved in a fight at the fairgrounds, resulting in one teen having his jaw broken in two places and requiring reconstruction surgery.

According to the police report of the incident, key witnesses stated that the boy who threw the punches that broke the other boy’s jaw was acting in self-defense. Because of that—along with other voluminous conflicting witness reports—no arrests were made, and the Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office states it had insufficient evidence to prosecute. That has resulted in supporters of the boy with the broken jaw claiming indifference from the county.

In fact, the most vitriolic social media claim asserts that “a band of thugs tried to murder” the injured boy and that there was no reaction from county officials.

That’s not how the county sees it. “If the statement made [of attempted murder] had any proximity to the truth—if indeed there had been no response,” Klickitat County Prosecutor David Quesnel says, “that would have been terrible. People would have had a right to ask, ‘What’s going on in Klickitat County?’” While witnesses supporting each boy are plentiful, fewer are the statements from less-attached witnesses. Those sources are uniform in saying the hurt boy instigated the fight, though none remotely suggests his resulting injuries were anything less than appalling. The matter comes down to: which party was the one acting in self-defense?

Ricky Ellsworth, father of the boy with the broken jaw, has placed his son’s name prominently on the internet and in social media, claiming grave injustice has been done and calling for social action on the matter. He has demanded further investigation and says he is convinced that it was his child who was the victim of assault and that his son’s grave injuries prove that.

Prosecutors, however, typically place primary accountability on the person who commits the first aggression. If, because of that aggression, he or she sustains serious injury, that doesn’t mitigate the fact that the injuring party was acting in self-defense.

According to the most uninvolved sources cited in reports, Ellsworth’s son used ethnic slurs against the other boy and instigated the fight, adding that Ellsworth’s son threw the first punch against the other boy, forcing him to defend himself.

On the other side of the story, witnesses for the injured boy maintain stated that it was the other one who started the fight. Those witnesses added that it was that boy who sucker-punched Ellsworth’s son after he tried to avoid the conflict.

Using social media, Ellsworth is telling his story to the point of gaining national attention on certain blog sights and podcasts. He called in to Lars Larsen’s radio show, and Larry the Cable Guy has reposted tweets from Ellsworth’s Twitter traffic. While the online rhetoric escalates, there is little likelihood the matter will be revisited by county authorities, who say they are confident they did their jobs in complete due diligence.

There is a rally scheduled for Feb. 5, 2018 in Goldendale, organized by Ellsworth, aimed at securing what he calls justice for his son.

 

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