Bar brawl on Market Square leads to arrest for assaulting cops

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Lucas Branch

A vicious weekend bar brawl at a popular downtown nightclub led to the arrest of a 30-year-old man for allegedly assaulting no fewer than seven people, including three Knoxville Police Department officers. 

The suspect, identified by police as Lucas A. Branch of Knoxville, was taken into custody on a slew of charges that included three counts of assaulting a first responder, four counts of simple assault, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, court records show.

The fight — which pitted Branch against several cops and employees of Preservation Pub on Market Square — apparently erupted when Branch argued with a bartender over the size of a shot of liquor just after 1 a.m. Sunday, according to arrest warrants filed by KPD Officer Charles Roach.

Branch threw a full beer on the bartender and then attacked two more pub employees when they intervened, prompting a female bartender to hit him in the groin. A bouncer then tried to subdue him, but it required the efforts of several bystanders to eventually get him to calm down enough to stand against a wall until police arrived.

Roach wrote that he was one of several KPD officers who were dispatched to the Preservation Pub to investigate a report that there “was a large fight on the fourth floor” of the establishment. 

When the officers located Branch, he was allegedly “refusing to leave the business and assaulting multiple victims from the fight.”  After unsuccessful trying to convince him to walk away, they “took the defendant to the ground where he continued to pull away and resist officers,” Roach reported. 

Branch was eventually handcuffed and escorted to the elevator, but once the group reached the ground floor he began fighting again. He managed to scratch one officer and then kicked another officer in the groin before they were able to force him into the back seat of a police cruiser to await a transport van. 

Once the van arrived, Branch allegedly kicked Sgt. Pete Franzen in the groin while the officer was taking photographs of his injuries. He was forced to the ground for a second time while the officers changed his handcuffs (the report doesn’t explain why they needed to do so) and then manhandled him — “still kicking” — into the back of the van so he could be taken to jail, according to the warrants penned by Roach. 

It wasn’t clear if Branch was required to post bond, but records available Monday indicated he’d been released from jail. He is scheduled to appear in Knox County General Sessions Court on September 26.

Published on September 13, 2022.