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Two Thief River Falls councilors charged after fight during meeting

One threw a chair during the July 10 altercation.
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Two council members from Thief River Falls have been charged with assault after a committee meeting descended into a brawl.

It follows a disagreement over a splash park project at a administrative services committee meeting at Thief River Falls city hall on July 10.

Council member Josh Hagen, 38, had early in the evening got into an argument about the project with another council member, Curtis Howe, over the project, and proceeded to take "a couple of shots" at Howe during the meeting.

Step forward 73-year-old councilor Jerald Brown, who said he didn't want to hear any more of Hagen's "smart remarks" and told him to "shut up," saying: "I'm sick and tired of you."

A criminal complaint states he then told Hagen, "I'm going to take you outside," with Hagen responding: "Let's go."

They then fronted up to each other, engaging in a shoving match before Brown picked up a chair "to defend himself," but eventually threw it at Hagen.

The pair then ended up on the floor with Hagen on top, with a witness telling police Hagen was "pounding on (Brown's) head as hard as he could," while Howe saw Hagen kicking Brown in the face.

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Hagen later told police that he thought Brown grabbing and throwing the chair was a serious threat, and the only reason he continued to hit Brown was so he'd let go of his legs.

"Witnesses stated that both Hagen and Brown could have avoided this altercation and were acting like two children on a school yard," the criminal complaint states.

The Thief River Falls Times reports that Hagen, the Ward 3 council member, resigned from his position at the next council meeting on July 17, giving a statement in which he accused Mayor Brian Holmer of allowing personal attacks to happen.

Both Hagen and Brown sustained minor injuries in the incident. Brown has been charged with disorderly conduct, while Hagen has been charged with 5th degree assault.

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